Volunteers from The Home Depot came to the National Training Center and Fort Irwin over the weekend to start building a new community garden on post. The project was made possible with a grant under the Home Depot Foundations “Celebration of Service” program.
The Celebration of Service program runs from September 11 until Veterans Day each year. During that time, Home Depot stores all over the country participate in projects that specifically improve the quality of life of servicemembers and veterans.
Earlier this year, The Home Depot store in Barstow approached Fort Irwin United States Army Garrison Commander, Col. Kurt Pinkerton, to ask if there were any projects on post that might qualify for a grant. Pinkerton mentioned that the Fort Irwin Garden Club had been trying to start a community garden.
Catharine Cook, vice president of the Garden Club, said the club had been very interested in building a garden. Club members knew they could put something together, even if it took a couple of years or so, she said.
With the space allocated by Garrison and the material, equipment and manpower provided by The Home Depot, the community garden began to take shape in just one weekend.
Mario Gomez and Marco Lepe, employees with The Home Depot, drove from the Palmdale and Lancaster stores to help build the new garden area.
“The Home Depot likes giving back – it’s part of our culture,” Gomez said. “So, we got some volunteers and came out. It’s part of our core values to give back.”
Cook pointed out the importance of the garden to the community.
“I think it’s a place for children to come out and see where vegetables grow, rather than just the grocery store,” Cook said.
“I know my children loved the garden we had in New York. They loved picking their vegetables. They’ve always loved digging in the dirt.”
The Garden Club expects to expand on the community garden. The club plans to provide an area for the local schools to have their own plots.
“It’s a goal for us to provide a plot to each of the schools to offer to the children, so they can come out and … grow their own vegetables,” Cook said. “It’s a little oasis – it’s a wonderful place.”
Volunteers for the community garden construction included The Home Depot management and employees from the Barstow, Victorville, Apple Valley, Palmdale, Lancaster and Bakersfield stores.