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Home Depot steps up big for Sunnyside-area veterans

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Sunnyside Mayor Mike Farmer (left) hands over the mayors award to Home Depot Yakima Store Manager Salvador Cobar, for "outstanding service achievement in Sunnyside."

Bricks, paint and generous hearts were all part of yesterday's ceremony and work party at Sunnyside's downtown veterans memorial.

A whopping $18,000 in donations contributed to honoring local veterans, along with a team of more than 40 Home Depot volunteers, who showed in Sunnyside yesterday, Thursday.

The Sunnyside Jerry Taylor Memorial Veterans Plaza, the Sunnyside VFW and a Sunnyside Vietnam veteran reaped the benefits of Home Depot employees' generosity.

The Team Depot volunteer service project annually sets aside funds to give back to its local communities. And from now, until Nov. 11, Veterans Day, the company designates its projects to individuals and organizations who are veterans of the U.S. military.

A team of more than four dozen volunteers hopped in their own vehicles, at their own expense and headed to Sunnyside, where they began laying pavers, special bricks, at the veterans plaza at Ninth Street and Edison Avenue. The pavers were provided by Home Depot.

Shortly after beginning work, several dozen Sunnyside dignitaries, veterans and residents gathered around to show their gratitude. The Lower Valley Honor Guard ushered in an atmosphere of reverence when they performed TAPS and a 21-gun salute.

Sunnyside Mayor Mike Farmer also presented Home Depot store manager Salvador Cobar with the mayor's award, thanking the team for their volunteer hours yesterday.

Cobar noted that the team assembled on a volunteer basis, donating their time and labor for Sunnyside-area veterans.

"We call it the celebration of service," he said. "We can't say enough to thank our veterans...this is just our way of giving back," said Cobar.

The team didn't stop with laying bricks, but also headed to the Sunnyside VFW where they painted over graffiti-damaged walls.

But that wasn't all.

Volunteers also visited Sunnyside resident Larry Oswalt, a Vietnam veteran, who needed his porch fixed.

"This is just one way we can give back," Team Depot Captain Jim Carpenter said.

Sunnyside VFW Commander Bill Ingram says this donation is by far one of the largest the local veterans' community has ever received.

"This donation from Home Depot is one of the greatest donations we've ever had, it's an honor to have them here," Ingram said with tears in his eyes. "I'm overwhelmed, it's just amazing."

Home Depot store volunteers traveled from Yakima, Hermiston, Kennewick and Richland to show their support of local veterans.

"Freedom isn't free," said Mayor Farmer, as he thanked Team Depot for stepping up and pitching in at the plaza.

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