Volunteers help repair veteran's home after it was vandalized while he was hospitalized

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- In the South Valley, a Korean War veteran's home was vandalized while a Visalia man was in the hospital.

Home Depot and AMVETS teamed up with Habitat for Humanity to do repair work. Here's a look at how this work is making sure the man has a home to return to.

From shoveling soil to laying cement, the volunteer group isn't afraid to get their hands dirty. In addition to landscaping, adding security lighting and installing flooring, crew members with Home Depot are painting the interior and exterior of the home which they say is a small symbol of their gratitude for those who have served our country.

"As much sacrifice as they've done you feel for them you want to make sure that if we have the opportunity like we have the resources, that we want to come and take care of him and get him back in his home," said Carlos Jimenez, Home Depot.

For the team at Home Depot, it's all in a days work, or a day off work because they are all volunteering.

Since 2011, the Home Depot Foundation has invested around $213 million in veteran-related projects nationwide. When they learned of Korean War veteran Felix Lopez' story through Habitat for Humanity, this project took special meaning.

"When he was in the hospital people broke in. They stole the beds, the stole the washer, dryer, microwaves, videotapes anything with value," said Jim Lopez, Felix' brother.

After Felix was hospitalized for open heart surgery his brother Jim Lopez tried to help with the cost of hospital bills and physical therapy. While trying to get his brothers affairs in order at home, Lopez was blown away to see the state the house was in calling it nearly uninhabitable.

"You talk about cleaning house, they cleaned house, except they left the junk," said Jim Lopez.

"It's always distressing when we hear that seniors first aren't able to take care of their own property. And then they're ill and then someone takes advantage of that," said Deanna Saldana, Habitat for Humanity.

In addition to securing volunteers through Naval Air Station Lemoore, Habitat teamed up with Home Depot and AMVETS who secured a $13 thousand grant for repair work.

Lopez is still in recovery, but eager to get home.
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