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Archive for December, 2012

We’re wrapping up our series covering the Home Depot Foundation Hometown Visits to our nation’s heroes in uniform.  Check out Part I, Part II, and Part III if you haven’t had a chance.

She may be a Mom 24/7, but 247Moms blogger Trisha Novotny  jumped at the chance to decorate a tree for a hero when Team Home Depot visited the Jennings family as part of their Celebration of Service 2012.  Little did she know that in giving this gift, she would get an even bigger one in return.

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Santa’s Little Helper

Before the laughter and lights, Trisha talked with the soldier, a wounded warrior, about his injuries, how they have impacted his family, and yet, remained incredibly positive about the future. “Each time I have been part of a Celebration of Service project with Home Depot I gain a greater appreciation and honor for our Veterans and those still serving today – They are true heroes who have sacrificed, given up and truly know the meaning of serving for the sake of others.”

After a delightful evening of holiday fun, Trisha and her boys shared the true spirit of the season. “As we drove away my boys and I discussed this is what Christmas is about serving and giving to others, making new friends and honoring those who have sacrificed so much for our freedom.”

What a wonderful lesson for all of us.

homedepothandmadehome2Over at the HandmadeHome, blogger couple Jamin and Ashley Mills were thrilled. “We absolutely adore our veterans and their wonderful service to our country. Last week, we were blessed to take a little bit of Christmas cheer and goodies from Home Depot and Operation Homefront” to the Clark Family .

“We felt honored that these super kind people opened up their home to us and let us help spread a little Christmas cheer.”

Thank You, Jamin and Ashley, for representing how so many of us feel towards our military, veteran and wounded warrior families.

Last but certainly not least, we land in Grand Rapids Michigan with my Dale from Military Avenue and the Purvis family.  The Military Avenue folks have been my Twitter buddies and I did a little happy dance to see they were a part of Home Depot’s Hometown Visits.

Among a living room “covered in pictures and memories from his multiple deployments and service to our country”,…

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….a peek at (possibly) next year’s holiday style trend:

Super Model!

Super Model!

She makes it work.

“Throughout my time with the family we shared plenty of laughs and a few serious and emotional topics.”, writes Dale Kissinger, the Military Avenue blogger. That’s military life, though, and it is a full one.

But these are the faces we remember:

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I am so blessed, as part of Operation Homefront’s Social Media Team, to witness, every day, the inspirational, the brave, the strength, the hope, and the love that defines the lives of the men and women (and their families) who pledge their lives in defense of our nation.  It is a great day when I get to share with you how our communities give back.  I hope you have enjoyed our recap of the Hometwon Visits with the Home Depot Foundation.  To learn more about their pledge to donate $50 million in 3 years to veterans projects and support, or to learn about opportunities for service in your area all year round, visit www.homedepotfoundation.org

Happy Holidays!

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I love the holiday season and the stories of giving, love and kindness that renew our belief in the true goodness of others.  It’s even better when they involve a few of my favorite things: military families, Christmas and service in our community.  Here are three more Holiday Hometown visits with Team Home Depot, Operation Homefront, and military bloggers from around the USA.

Gail Wilson of My Repurposed Life brought her decorating expertise to the Lake Family home at Ft Knox.  She made a really cute video

Admit it, you let out an “Awww” when the little boy kissed the gingerbread house kit.  Priceless.

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A star, a star, shining in the night…

Beneath My Heart blogger Traci Hutcherson describes her visit with her local veteran family perfectly: “..nothing was more beautiful than seeing 11 strangers spend a couple of hours together, sharing stories, decorating a tree, enjoying the season, and honoring the service of our Veterans.” 

Her son Jonathan added to the holiday cheer by breaking out his guitar and playing, “Silent Night”

Rock Star!

Rock Star!

We also learned an important lesson: when you ask a young man whether or not he wants to “put on the skirt”…be sure to clarify you mean the TREE SKIRT.

Simply Kierste blogger Kierste Wade learned a lot about Army life, Iraq and that girls need lots of shoes on her visit with veteran Quinton, his wife Jennifer, and their three year old daughter.

After fighting health issues, Quintin is now retired and looking forward to his future.  One that is a little brighter today thanks to the Home Depot Foundation.

Thank you for your service, Quintin!

Thank you for your service, Quintin!

Be sure to come back in the next few days and hear about the final hometown Celebration of Service visits with Team Home Depot.  In the meantime, check out these ladies blogs for some great holiday decorating and celebrating tips.

Simply Kierste

My Repurposed Life

Beneath My Heart

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Still not a Poet Laureate (see Part I of our series-linked),but that’s okay, because still more bloggers have written about their time as ambassadors of cheer with the Home Depot Foundation, Operation Homefront, and some special families who had their homes decked out in holiday cheer as part of Celebration of Service 2012.

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Team Depot with Decor Chick blogger, Emily, and J&R family

With a handle of DécorChick!, you knew our families would be in good hands with blogger Emily Allison.  How incredible is that her time with Celebration of Service, which she calls “life changing” ends with a holiday visit to give back to those who give so much to protect our country?

Who here would be surprised that a military family you came to say “Thank You” to would send you away with homemade hot chocolate and marshmallows as a thank you to you.

We aren’t.  That’s just how they roll, isn’t it?

homedepotinmyownstylePADE

“In My Own Style” blogger Diane Henkler and Home Depot visited with Air Force Captain Marion R. and kids as part of a special Celebration of Service event. (Operation Homefront PA/DE)

I let out a squeal of delight when I saw that the elves made a stop in MY home state of Pennsylvania (If you haven’t had a chance to visit Bethlehem at Christmas Time, put it on your bucket list.  Trust me).

“In My Own Style” blogger Diane Henkler wrote of her visit with Air Force Captain Marion R. and kids , “You are what makes this country and our Military strong”….and we couldn’t agree more.  Marion has been in the service for 27 years, enlisting back in 1985.  She’s also Mom to three amazing kids who understand that sometimes, Mom can’t be there for those special days.

But not this day, and thanks to Diane, the Home Depot Foundation, and our fabulous PA/DE Field Office, they’ll have a wonderful memory to share for years to come.  Check out Diane’s slideshow of her visit.  It is sure to put you in the Christmas spirit.

homedepotlovelycraftyhome2Meanwhile, down in North Carolina, even the family dogs were excited to see “ Lovely Craft Home” blogger  Rachael Evans and the Home Depot/Operation Homefront crew .
Look, doggie kisses:

How timely that they arrived just as the family had returned from a Christmas parade?

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After a whirlwind of lights, ornaments and wreaths, the perfect moment of a family around the tree (including wrangled dogs):

Joyce-family-with-tree

We’ll be back with Part III and even more stories of giving back to those who give so much to us, our military and veteran families.  In the meantime, check out the incredible initiative and commitment of the Home Depot Foundation to our nations veterans.

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Twas the weeks before Christmas

And all through the land

Home Depot Elves were ready

To give MilFamilies a hand…

Well, I tried…

Instead, let’s hear from some much more erudite folks who joined Team Home Depot over the last couple of weeks as they visited military families and veterans around the country draped in tinsel and garland and spirit galore as part of The Home Depot Foundation’s Celebration of Service 2012.  We hope their stories touch you as much as their visits touched our families.

Deja "was mesmerized by the glittery ornaments and all the lights on the tree"

Deja “was mesmerized by the glittery ornaments and all the lights on the tree”

The best part for Army Wife and author of “The New Normal” blog Kris Ligenfelter of her visit with Army Specialist Shamika Pliars and family? 

“…watching the family together put the finishing touch on the tree…the star at the top. This is always my favorite moment in decorating our tree at home and we have such a tradition surrounding it, so I loved watching this family make their own tradition of placing their star on top.”

You can’t put a price on sharing a moment like that!

homedepotnotjustahousewife

Blogger Stacy Risenmay and kids with the Bennett Family in Utah.

Stacy Risenmay is definitely “Not Just A Housewife”.  She has volunteered with the Home Depot Foundation quite a bit, but was thrilled to hear that a project was coming to her hometown in Utah.   Not only that, but the veteran she was bringing Christmas cheer to?  A high school classmate!  Talk about providence!

You have to head over to her blog to see the cards her sons made for their visit with the “real life soldier”.  Too precious.

Can we get some of these?

Can we get some of these?

We want to know the “Witty Little Secret” behind the Ginger Molasses cookies blogger and military wife Lori Volkman brought with her on the Team Depot visit to SSgt Jimmy McEwing and his family of Vancouver WA.   See the pic? Tell us you don’t want to know either.

Grab some nog and cookies and settle in to hear not just a Christmas story, but a bonus love story too.  Hint: a care package, a note, and destiny.

Come back for Part II and more through next week.  Special thanks to Lori Volkman of Witty Little SecretKris Ligenfelter of The New Normal, and Stacy Risenmay of Not Just a Housewife for your service to our country, to your communities, and to our military and veteran families. You can see more photos from their visits on our Pinterest Board.

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