More than 200 volunteers from The Home Depot helped put the final touches on Veterans Memorial Walk and Cisco’s Dog Park at Bryant Commons Thursday.
Team Depot, the store’s associate volunteer force and supply chain vendors, got their hands dirty alongside residents by planting shrubs, spreading mulch and gravel, building benches under shade structures, installing a playground and building obstacles at the dog park.
The project is part of The Home Depot Foundation’s “mission to improve the lives of veterans and their families.”
Team Depot is the associate-led volunteer force, which does smaller projects throughout the year, and projects, such Bryant Commons, are part of the foundation’s larger major projects.
Project Leader Ryan Braddy said a member of the foundation, a Hinesville resident, brought Veterans Memorial Walk to their attention as they were considering other projects in Savannah.
“When we came here and saw the property and saw everything that it could be, we just knew that this was the place for us,” Braddy said. “You’re impacting the veteran community as a whole on so many levels. You got the veterans memorial, that’s a direct connection, our K-9 Battle Buddies, they’re going to be able to use this (dog) park for their training, and just a place to come and relax. The playground helps make it a true family environment, something for everyone.”
Coordinating the project took a lot of teamwork Braddy said and commended the county and Leah Poole, executive director for the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce and CVB, for their help. The Home Depot suppliers in Savannah also helped ship the supplies to the site.
The volunteers worked from 8 a.m. to noon and any leftover work will be completed by volunteers
K9 Battle Buddies, a nonprofit organization that trains rescue dogs to become service dogs, has been using Bryant Commons for training. Cisco’s Dog Park will be their main training area.
The dog park will be open to the public.
Kyle Louks, director of training for K9 Battle Buddies, said the people at Bryant Commons and Michelle Ricketson, executive director of the Hinesville Downtown Development Authority, have been very accommodating.
“We’ve been allowed to use the pavilion, the fenced in area up front and we use the red barn,” Louks said. “Bryant Commons has been absolutely fabulous to us. Everything they’ve done has been spot on.”
The organization has been using the park for over a year and have trained up to 107 dogs.
After Hurricane Irma K9 Battle Buddies volunteers came out to Bryant Commons to clear felled trees and limbs out of the area.
“Everyone in K9 Battle Buddies is a volunteer. We get nothing out it except pure enjoyment.” Louks said.
Over 35,000 Home Depot employees are veterans.
“We take the opportunity to serve those who have served us,” Shannon Gerber, executive director of The Home Depot Foundation, said. “This is part of our overall commitment. This is part of us giving back and serving our veterans. We’re excited to be here in this community to provide the memorial, the playground and an area for Battle Buddies. The sacrifice our men and women are making for our freedom we want to give something their families can enjoy. And overall we want a place where you can pay respect to those who sacrificed so much for our country. Hinesville needs that place and we’re glad to help with the finishing touches.”