Home Depot's Celebration of Service

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Heads Up: This post is sponsored by The Home Depot Foundation, but all opinions are my own. Please see below for additional disclosure.

Before last week, I wasn't aware of all the work Home Depot was doing to support our nation's veterans. On Friday, I was able to experience it first hand when they invited me to be part of and document an event called Celebration of Service. 

Part of a much larger movement taking place across the country between 9/11 and Veterans Day, Home Depot's "Team Depot" has been putting their skills and talents to work by renovating 1,000 veterans' homes. Since beginning the program, they have already transformed over 13,000 homes. So, this renovation, while it was marvelous and exciting on its own, is only a drop in the bucket.

Why does Home Depot place such an emphasis on veterans? Well, on top of their strong desire to - and I truly can't put it better than them - "serve those who have served us all," it's also a very personal thing. Veterans are part of the Home Depot family, with 35,000 of their employees having served.

We started Friday morning by meeting at Kent County Habitat for Humanity. It was a gorgeous location to start the day, with skyline views of Grand Rapids to serve as a backdrop for the opening ceremony.

There was a sea of orange (Home Depot's "Team Depot"), and Red (Habitat for Humanity) as the morning kicked off. After mingling and enjoying some coffee and breakfast, a few speakers got everyone hyped up, centered on the purpose of the day, and ready to renovate some homes!

After the kick-off ceremony, the group broke off into six smaller teams, each headed to a local veteran's home.

Once there, I was able to meet the veteran whose home we were working on. Lawrence Smith is a 62 year old vet who has been living in a rental apartment since being discharged in the 80s. This home will be his first, and it was wonderful to hear him speak about his hopes and dreams for it.

Lawrence has quite a few grandchildren. His biggest excitement about this new home is centered around them, and he looks forward to bringing them here to spend family time. 

Another thing I heard from Lawrence was a bit about how overwhelmingly humbling this whole experience was. He was so profoundly thankful for the chance to have a home of his own where he can age in peace and enjoy his family. Lawrence is also very faith filled, and professed his belief that everyone involved in the project had been touched by God.

The project was in full swing almost immediately, and we were able to have front row seats to the big changes taking place at Lawrence's future home. 

Over a longer period of time, the entire house will be renovated. On our inaugural work day, the team re-landscaped, removed all of the siding, gutted and re-sealed the bathrooms, and insulated the home.

They also removed an old rotting deck and began laying the groundwork for a new one. You better believe the new one will be bigger!

While we were working, a few pans of treats showed up - Rice Crispy Treats, Pumpkin Chocolate Cookies, and Puppy Chow. On top of the delicious burgers, hot dogs, chili, etc, there was a fuel-packed feast to be had for the day's volunteers.

Lawrence got to work, too - from nailing the insulation up to raking the leaves, he was excited to jump in and start working on his new home. I never saw him working without a smile on his face - or anyone else, for that matter.

As the day came to a close, the participating groups held a closing ceremony to commemorate the day's work and recognize the key players who made the event happen. Of course, one of the stars was Lawrence, himself, who has put in over 300 hours of 'sweat equity' with Habitat For Humanity in preparation for owning his own home.


Remember that family time Lawrence was looking forward to with his grandchildren? He's going to get it! At the end of the closing ceremony, Home Depot pledged to foot the bill for a backyard playground set of his choosing. Sounds like he won't have much of a challenge getting those grandkids over to his house. :)

Helpful Links:
The Home Depot Foundation
Team Depot on Facebook
Team Depot on Twitter

Full Disclosure: The Home Depot Foundation partnered with bloggers such as me for their Celebration of Service program. As part of this program, I received compensation for my time. They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about any product mentioned in these posts. The Home Depot Foundation believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. The Home Depot Foundation’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.


No-Gym Workout Of The Week: 30 Minute Leg Burn

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Tuesday was a rainy, rainy day and I had plans to hit up the gym after work with my husband for our Body By Science routine. But, I still wanted to fit another workout in earlier in the day. Since it was raining, a jog outside was out of the question, and since I had plans to workout later at the gym, I didn't want to waste the gas driving to/from the gym twice.

So, instead of calling it quits, I decided to do my own 30 minute circuit for lower body fitness. This should get your heart rate up a bit - you will definitely feel that you are working. That said, it all depends on how quickly you proceed through the exercises. The faster you move, the harder your heart and body will work and therefore the higher your heart rate will climb.

Get The Workout:

If you are unfamiliar with some of the exercises in this post, here are a few easy how-tos you can review before starting:
  • Jump Squats consist of squats with a jump in between (where you would typically just stand up). Be sure to keep your knees loose and do not lock them at any point. Here's a video if you'd like to see a visual.
  • Alternating Jump Lunges consist of alternating lunges on each side, but instead of stepping back to reset before alternating, you jump in the air to switch your legs. Here's a video if you'd like to see a visual. If this feels too high impact for you, feel free to do traditional alternating lunges. Here's a video of traditional alternating lunges if you'd like to see a visual.
  • Slow Squats consist of going in and out of your squat position without a break, but doing so slowly. This will allow your heartrate to slow down somewhat from the previous two exercises, while still keeping your leg muscles engaged. Here's a video if you'd like to see a visual.
  • Regular Side Lunges consist of starting in a standing position, then lifting your leading leg and leaning out toward that side, then falling into a lunge before returning to standing position. This movement will challenge your lower body but will also require you to contract your core to keep your balance. Here's a video if you'd like to see a visual.
  • Side Lunges with Knee Lift are similar to the regular side lunge above, except that instead of coming back into standing position between lunges, you will pull your leading leg up in the air. This requires even more balance than the previous move and will also engage your core and upper leg as you lift the leg. Here's a video if you'd like to see a visual.
  • Side Lunges with Floor Touch are another variation on the regular side lunge above. In this case, when you lunge to the side with your leading leg, bring your hands down to touch the floor just in front of your leading foot. Then, return to standing position like you would for a regular side lunge. Here's a video if you'd like to see a visual.
  • Bridge Lifts consist of laying on the floor with your feet about one foot from your butt, then using your legs to raise your midsection off of the floor while leaving your shoulders and arms down. Here's a video if you'd like to see a visual. For the exercises in Round Three, you will perform variations of your leg and foot placement during the bridge lift. First, your legs and feet will both be shoulder/hip distance apart, which is a traditional bridge lift. Then, you will try combinations of putting your feet and/or knees together.

Week In Workouts:
For those of you who are still curious about my personal fitness schedule, which I used to post, here's me getting back on the bandwagon to share that information with you. This weekend was fairly light, as we had company in town and decided to do active things that would get us moving without having to schedule an actual workout.
Friday: Weights + Light Cardio Bodypump Class + 40 minute self-guided spinning
Saturday: Muscle Intensive Light Cardio Dune Hiking - 40 minutes
Sunday: Active Rest 1+ hours walking
Monday: Rest Day My husband and I were both a bit sore from Saturday's dune hike and Sunday's long walk around the city, so we decided to take it easy.
Tuesday: Muscle Intensive + Weights 30 Minute Legs (The Workout Above) and Body By Science (Full Body Weights in 12 Minutes)
Wednesday: Muscle Intensive + Cardio PiYo DVD and 4 mile run
Thursday: Weights Bodypump Class + 40 minute self-guided spinning

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