Sears’ support of our nation’s military heroes dates back to World War I and that support has continued through the company’s Heroes at Home program in partnership with Rebuilding Together. For the past 11 years, Sears and Rebuilding Together have teamed up to make critical repairs and safety improvements to the homes of 1,750 military families across the United States. This year, Shop Your Way members, customers and associates have raised over $1.1 million so far and will complete over three dozen rebuilds.
During each rebuild, all the volunteers sign a replica of an American flag painted by Sears Holdings associates. Sears presents the signed flag artwork to the veteran as thanks for their service and the work they do in their communities.
Here’s a look at the five largest projects completed this year, including the “signature” build in Miami:
Silicon Valley, California – June 21
Sears and Kmart associates worked tirelessly on a hot June day for John, an 81-year-old Army veteran who is facing various health challenges. The teams replaced his roof, upgraded the bathrooms and made critical safety repairs like installing new smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and making electrical updates. Check out the story by local news station KTVU.
Chicago, Illinois – June 28
Sears and Kmart associates and volunteers from Chicago worked together to help Larry McLaughlin, a local Army veteran, stay in his home of 55 years.
Larry and his wife Linda reside in his childhood home, where they raised their children and care for their grandchildren in the summers. Volunteers helped paint, landscape, clean, repair a leak in the basement, rebuild stairs, and install hand rails and a fence. On the 90-degree day, volunteers also installed four Kenmore air conditioners donated by Sears. “Larry’s ecstatic,” Linda told us. “He didn’t think he would live to see this house fixed up. I appreciate all Sears is doing.”
Larry couldn’t wait to use his new Craftsman lawn mower and line trimmer, also donated by Sears. As soon as he got them, he mowed his neighbor’s lawn. He happily boasted to his family that his new lawn mower was from the 22nd century. Larry proudly held his brand new line trimmer above his head and shouted, “I love Sears!”
The Bronx, New York City – July 3
Founded in 1938, the American Legion Union Port Post is a family-oriented non-profit that provides social services for veterans, youth and the overall community. Built in 1861, the Post was a public school house before being repurposed when the Legion was formed. The Post has been unable to keep up with routine repairs and maintenance of the 157 year-old building, which they rent out for community events to generate critical supplemental income to support their operations. Volunteers painted, replaced flooring, renovated the outside space and provided protection from pests and rodents.
Miami, Florida – July 17
More than 75 volunteers, including NFL Hall of Famer Kurt Warner, came out to help two veterans in the Miami Gardens neighborhood whose homes had been damaged by hurricanes. The cause resonates with Kurt because his wife, Brenda, served in the Marines for four years. “We are always looking for ways to make lives better for those who have done so many great things for our country,” says Kurt, who spent the morning conducting interviews with news outlets across the country via satellite from one of the homes.
The first home belongs to Leonard Brown, an Air Force veteran in his mid-80s, whose wife passed away nearly 16 years ago. Volunteers replaced the roof, cabinets and counter tops, painted the interior and exterior, and repaired and updated two bathrooms.
Ronald Bess, a Navy veteran who served on the USS Independence, owns the second home where volunteers replaced windows and doors, fixed drywall, painted, landscaped and renovated the kitchen and bathroom. After serving in the Navy, Ronald worked for the U.S. postal service and Miami-Dade’s Information Technology department. He and his wife are both involved with Active People Helping Hands where they feed senior citizens in need.
These repairs and updates made it possible for Leonard and Ronald to care for their families and continue living in their homes.
Fort Meade, Maryland – July 26
Still Meadows is a community of 260 condominiums outside the Fort Meade military installation and off-post housing. The neighborhood, which has a strong veteran community, has fallen into decline over the past 10 years. Sears and Kmart associates spent the day constructing a neighborhood park, complete with benches and a BBQ pit. They also repaired the community pool house and added a dog park.
Sears Shop Your Way members and Sears customers can support the military by donating to Heroes at Home online at sears.com/heroesathome. All proceeds go toward rebuilding efforts across the country through Rebuilding Together.