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Home Depot pitches in on cemetery clean-up

The veterans section of Chief Tecopa Cemetery was awash with a bunch of individuals wearing carrot hued T-shirts, while yielding paint brushes, scaling ladders and brandishing various implements of construction and destruction.

Last Thursday, the denim-clad group of volunteers made good on their promise to do a complete renovation of the site as part of The Home Depot’s commitment to assist military veterans throughout the country.

For more than five years, the giant retailer has invested more than $80 million to non-profit organizations who specifically address the needs of veterans.

In addition, through what’s known as “Team Depot,” employees actually volunteer their time and skills to repair and remodel veterans’ homes and facilities.

Pahrump Town Manager Susan Holecheck said the building was long overdue for repairs, while noting the project did not cost the town a penny.

Chief Tecopa Cemetery is owned by the Town of Pahrump.

“It truly needed some sprucing up,” she said. “I turned in a grant request for $5,000 to Home Depot who provides grants to veterans every year and we thought this would be a great time to apply for the grant. They provided all of the work and equipment and usually get the job done in one day. I submitted the grant in back in April and I’m just so glad that we were able to beat the deadline.”

Former Pahrump Veterans Advisory Board member Jose Tellas said the renovation will cover everything from the floor to the ceiling.

“We are going to upgrade the floors and do framing on the east and west side of the walls for shelving,” Tellas said. “When everything is completed, it’s going to look like a brand new multi-purpose room. I am very grateful that the town and Home Depot have stepped it up for our local veteran population,” he said.

Local Home Depot Manager Theresa Aukemen said once complete, the site will be entirely transformed, both the interior of the multipurpose and the grounds where regular veteran related events take place throughout the year.

“We are revamping the inside and outside and the veterans picked out the colors of the paint and trim,” she said. “We’re installing a flower box and putting in all kinds of desert landscaping. On the inside of the building, there were brick walls and we decided to cover them over. Jose Tellas asked for a couple of additional shelves to display some memorials.”

Additionally, brand new flooring will grace the interior of the building as well as special lighting.

Aukemen also noted the project would not have been possible without the generosity of volunteers, many of which, traveled in from Las Vegas.

“We have a huge group and there’s 13 stores in the Vegas market including us. These are all volunteers coming up on their days off to assist with the project. We have over 50 who wanted to come up.”

The cost of Thursday’s makeover amounted to more than $10,000.

It’s not the first time Home Depot volunteers used their respective skills and talents to benefit the community.

Last year the team performed a similar renovation at the VFW Post on Homestead Road.

Home Depot on north Highway 160 will be the venue for the annual Pahrump Veterans Stand on Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Several dozen local and regional vendors have signed on to provide information and services to all veterans.

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