Volunteers give new life to apartment complex that houses veterans

Home Depot donates time, tools, talent to help

SAN ANTONIO – About 600 volunteers working with Home Depot helped to give new life to a Northwest Side apartment complex that is home to dozens of veterans.

Dressed in orange T-shirts, the volunteers descended early Wednesday morning on the Cypress Cove apartments, located near Loop 410 and Ingram Road. Before long, the property was abuzz with activity.

"We (are) going to be painting the entire property. We're also going to be doing a lot of landscaping, as you can tell, really beautifying the place," said Joe Wimberley, a spokesman for the home improvement retail giant.

Wimberley said the Home Depot corporation has invested more than $138 million since 2011 toward improving housing for veterans. The company chose to focus on the Cypress Cove apartments because it is home to about 40 veteran families.

"We want to tell our veterans thank you the best way we know how. And that's through our sweat,” he said.

Steve Barnett, a veteran who was once homeless, lives at the complex and couldn’t help but join in the activity.

"The energy is so uplifting. I mean, it's so contagious that I want to do more," Barnett said. "We're planting seeds for the younger generation ... for when they grow up. I do believe that they'll be able to have some type of sense of how to better their community."

Part of the overhaul plan included building a playground where there had been none.

“I’m excited,” Jennifer Gonzalez said. "Just bringing a park into their community where you're surrounded by highway and commercial properties. This, I think, is a huge bonus."

Gonzalez works with Alamo Community Group, which oversees Cypress Cove and several other affordable housing apartment complexes throughout the city. She said the property was chosen for the nearly half-million dollar overhaul through a grant program offered by Home Depot.

The entire job was slated to be completed in one day. But Barnett believes its impact will last a lifetime.

"The kids that live here on this property that had no idea of what it is to have the quality of life raised, and seeing it take place -- unimaginable," he said.

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