Home Depot employees volunteer to rebuild home of Baton Rouge veteran damaged in 2016 flood

Groups of volunteers helping veteran rebuild home after 2016 flood

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The Home Depot Foundation is partnering with Rebuilding Together Baton Rouge to renovate a veteran’s home that was damaged in the August 2016 flood.

A little love goes into this house with each brushstroke. Even the tedious process of screwing in light switch cover plates is appreciated, and the installation of kitchen cabinets is the ultimate grand gesture.

“We suffered. It was very inconvenient to wash dishes in the face bowl, but we did that,” Ronald Whicker said.

Home Depot employees help renovate the home of a veteran's home which was damaged during the August 2016 flood.
Home Depot employees help renovate the home of a veteran's home which was damaged during the August 2016 flood. (Source: WAFB)

Ronald Whicker, of Baton Rouge, is a 30 year veteran of the Marine Corps. Ronald lives in a home that remains unfinished due to flood damage with his wife, two children, and two special needs adult.

The Whickers haven’t had a kitchen since 2016. The flood wiped them out. They moved out of the FEMA trailer in May into a home left unfinished after a contractor ran off with their money.

The homeowners say there was a misunderstanding and a somewhat toxic relationship with the contractor. That miscommunication left the Whickers with work to do. That’s how Rebuilding Together BR got involved.

“Just doing some of the doors and trim work in the house, and we kind of hit a wall,” said Karen Ewing with Rebuilding Together BR.

The repairs the house needed were beyond what the volunteer group could provide. That's when The Home Depot Foundation stepped up.

“Obviously it’s a need and we’re glad to take care of,” said Parker Lombart, store manager of the Home Depot on Coursey Boulevard.

“They’re finishing all the work that would take us another six weeks to finish. They’re going to do it in one day,” Ewing adds.

It started as a simple kitchen installation, but it ballooned into much more. Every inch of the home was filled with volunteers cutting baseboards and putting down new flooring, working to make the house a home.

The team from Home Depot even threw in a little landscaping to complete the new look of the remodeled home.

“It gets us in the community. It gets us out the store,” Lombart said.

Whicker says not many people knew they’ve been living without, so to have a house full of people giving back was life-changing for a veteran that gave to so many.

Organizers say about 50 Home Depot employees will volunteer to help renovate Ronald’s home on Fieldcrest Drive. Their goal is to make the Whicker family’s home more livable and functional.

Home Depot employees help renovate the home of a veteran's home which was damaged during the August 2016 flood.
Home Depot employees help renovate the home of a veteran's home which was damaged during the August 2016 flood. (Source: WAFB)

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