Sears Holdings has a long-standing history of supporting our nation’s veterans through projects like Rebuilding Together and Heroes at Home, and for being good stewards of the environment through our commitment to Environmental Sustainability. On Oct. 28, 2014, those two priorities came together at one dynamic event to help homeless military veterans in Phoenix, Arizona, in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Arizona Public Service. This also celebrated National ENERGY STAR Day.
Phoenix Mayor Dean Stanton kicked off the event to welcome everyone to the city and thanked Sears and Sears Home Improvement for donating several items for a local group home for 135 retired and previously homeless U.S. military veterans. The Sears Holdings Green Leadership team coordinated refrigerator donations from Electrolux, 135 double hung windows donated by Sears Home Improvement, and three pairs of LG coin-operated washers and dryers for the facility’s common area. Sears Logistics helped coordinate the delivery of all products. Sears Delivery/Haul-away coordinated with national recycler JACO for the responsible appliance disposal (RAD) of all the old refrigerators onsite. Sears has been a RAD partner since the program’s inception in 2006.
At the ribbon-cutting event to commemorate the improvements, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said Phoenix has made tremendous strides in bringing homeless veterans off the streets. “This is a good first step,” Stanton said. “But we know there are more veterans coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan, and they’re going to need help when they come home.”1
The veterans commented how much they appreciated the new windows, not only for the improved energy efficiency they provide, but for the sound attenuation they offer. The group home sits along a busy road next to a railroad track, and along a flight path for Phoenix Sky Harbor Air Port, so outdoor noise is significant. Those with the new windows looked forward to a peaceful night of sleep. The overall annual energy savings for the group home is estimated at $40K once all upgrades are in place.
Resident Gary La Lone, who served in Vietnam in the Air Force, showed off his newly-renovated apartment and said he’s seen a difference in the way veterans are treated. “When we got back, we didn’t get a parade. We weren’t appreciated. We didn’t get remembered,” La Lone said. “Now, we are recognized. We are remembered.”1
The day was a big success and opportunity for SHC to Show Pride. The high energy from everyone in the group, along with the collaboration to help others, was an experience that the SHC team will not soon forget. Meeting face-to-face with the hundreds of participants receiving our donations was just as equally special. Thank you to our donation partners for making this a memorable day for our U.S. military veterans: Sears Home Improvement (windows), Electrolux (refrigerators), LG (washer/dryer pairs), Cree (LED bulbs) and APS (Insulation/Air Sealing).
1 “Housing for homeless vets in Phoenix gets major upgrade” The Arizona Republic, Oct. 29, 2014
Paul Campbell is the Director, Environmental Sustainability at Sears Holdings.