Home Depot, Operation Welcome Home

  • By Gwen Bittner, For the Chronicle

AMBER SIGMAN/For the Chronicle

Paul Garrecht Jr., his mother Annamae Garrecht, 79, a disabled private first class with the U.S. Army, and his father Paul Garrecht, 70, arrive at their home in Inverness on Friday afternoon. The home is being renovated through a cooperative effort between local veterans organization Operation Welcome Home and The Home Depot in Crystal River.

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Nearly 20 volunteers worked tirelessly Friday to restore the home of Inverness resident and wheelchair-bound veteran Annamae Garrecht.

Garrecht, 79, got the makeover after a home health aide posted about the need on Facebook page Citrus People Helping People.

Renovation efforts for the former U.S. Army private first class were nearly complete by the afternoon, and were made possible by a partnership between Operation Welcome Home and Home Depot.

Barb (Mills) from Operation Welcome Home found her on Citrus People Helping People on Facebook. It’s her family that needed help, Home Depot Assistant Manager and Team Depot Capow she came into contact with thetain Julie Shutt said.

Their home health nurse reached out and said I need help with this house, Mills said. So I came out here and then I called Julie and said, What can Home Depot do? so that’s what started all this.

Team Depot assessed Annamae’s house in September. Shortly thereafter, Mills and Shutt applied for Home Depot Foundation grants together to get the project started.

Team Depot is a volunteer-led force to help with primary veteran projects, and we come out and we volunteer our time, Shutt said.

We’re in conjunction with Home Depot, Mills said. Home Depot gives us the grant and then Home Depot comes out and does this.

This particular project was a $5,000 project that was granted from our Home Depot Foundation. That comes in the form of a store credit, and we’ve purchased that much in material to help the family out, Shutt said.

Home Depot associates and Citrus County Sheriff’s Office deputies, dispatchers and firefighters volunteered long hours Thursday and Friday to give the home a fresh look.

Volunteers painted interior and exterior walls, installed new fixtures and cleared out the overgrown yard. Three Home Depot associates donated personal time to lay commercial-grade vinyl flooring in December.

We’ve had a lot of other donations, Mills said. Advanced Disposal brought out a big dumpster for us to put all our stuff in, Citrus Pest Control came in and did a pre-treat on the house for bugs.

Fire Rescue volunteers suggested the team further reach out for community donations after seeing the state of the home that Garrecht, her husband Paul and son Paul Jr. Live in.

They made the suggestion: Why don’t we call and see if we can get somebody to donate mattresses? Shutt said.

Furniture Palace responded and donated box springs, mattresses, frames, and a dresser to the family.

It’s fantastic, Annamae said. We’ve been just through all of it.

Garrecht’s house was the second collaborative project Mills and Shutt have worked on to benefit local veterans.

We’re allowed to do it once a year and I’m looking forward to next year, Mills said. The teamwork here is just fantastic.

Mills and Shutt are still soliciting donation of a hospital bed mattress for Garrecht. Anyone able to donate is asked to call Mills at 352-422-6236.


  • Operation Welcome Home Veterans is a nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring Citrus County military personnel after serving in the War on Terrorism.
  • The group is also involved with the Honor Flight program supporting World War II veterans wishing to visit their Memorial in Washington.
  • The newest venture is honoring Vietnam War Veterans, their families and former POWs in partnership with Washington’s Commemoration of the Vietnam War program.
  • According it tis website, Operation Welcome Home Veterans is the only 501c(3) nonprofit organization of this type in America and 100 percent of funds support our veterans.
  • To donate or for more information about the group, call Barbara Mills at 352-422-6236.
  • The website, listed below, also has links to local groups and resources.

Source: http://operationwelcomehomeveterans.com

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