Keep Ohio Beautiful and The Home Depot Foundation visited the Chalmers P. Wylie Columbus VA Ambulatory Care Center on Oct. 17 to create a peaceful green space for veterans and their families. The Columbus VA initiative is among several similar projects funded by a grant to Keep Ohio Beautiful from the Home Depot Foundation.
Approximately 80 Home Depot associates from 14 Home Depot stores in central Ohio worked to help enhance outdoor space for the veterans. The volunteers installed multiple projects, including: 1) A paver patio with a pergola, which will be used for entertainment and education for outdoor programs and events; 2) A patio with seating and plantings for veterans and their families to relax and visit while they are at the Medical Center for treatment; 3) Two raised planters where veterans can plant and care for annuals and vegetables; and 4) A buffer zone comprised of 25 arborvitae trees around the grounds to make it an inviting space for veterans and their families.
“These projects provide veterans with increased access to new and improved gardens, but also an opportunity to be actively engaged in horticultural activities with the introduction of raised beds and planters, and have peaceful visiting areas with the addition of the patios,” explained Michael Mennett, executive director of Keep Ohio Beautiful.
The green space around the Columbus VA Ambulatory Care Center is used for a variety of activities, such as exercise, picnics and patient rehabilitation through horticulture therapy practices. A comprehensive garden program was developed to allow veterans to grow plants from seed and distribute the grown vegetables to other veterans. With the new raised beds, veterans who are physically compromised will now have an easier time participating in this activity.
“I would characterize the veterans’ sentiment towards this project as one of gratitude, and when individuals and organizations honor their service through projects like this, there is a genuine sense of appreciation for their efforts,” said Keith Sullivan, director, Chalmers P. Wylie Columbus VA Ambulatory Care Center. “With the help of Keep Ohio Beautiful and the Home Depot Foundation, the new greening projects add to our ongoing Relationship Based Care Initiative that aims to care for the veterans’ mind, body and spirit through a caring and healing environment.”
After the work was completed, Keep Ohio Beautiful held a dedication ceremony with remarks from speakers Dan Weisenbach, vice president, Keep Ohio Beautiful; Frank Graves, RPSM, Ohio Valley northern division, Home Depot; Keith Sullivan, director of the Chalmers P. Wylie Columbus VA Ambulatory Care Center; Rick Isabel, Mayor Coleman’s cabinet member and veterans affairs coordinator; and Mayor Kim Maggard, The City of Whitehall.
“The Home Depot Foundation shares a passion with Keep Ohio Beautiful to help make a difference in the lives of the veterans at the Columbus VA Ambulatory Care Center,” said Kelly Caffarelli, president of The Home Depot Foundation. “We were thrilled to be part of their efforts by lending a hand for this project that will benefit so many veterans and their families.”