The Home Depot Foundation and Rebuilding Together Sandoval County joined together to repair and renovate the home of Rio Rancho Navy veteran, Mel Baca. Work on the project began on Nov. 15.
Baca served 16 years in the Navy and sustained life-altering injuries while deployed in Iraq during Desert Storm. As a result, Baca took early retirement to join the Army Reserves, where he served for another 15 years. Baca returned to New Mexico and bought his home in Rio Rancho, where he pursued his personal passion of cooking by specializing as a mess cook and training young recruits to become the same.
As part of The Home Depot Foundation’s national Operation Surprise campaign, dozens of volunteers led by Team Depot, Home Depot’s associate volunteer force, and Rebuilding Together Sandoval County will be making landscaping updates, erecting a flagpole, building a pine fence, and providing materials for a kitchen and living room renovation inclusive of a new vinyl plank flooring and a new gas range stove and hood. Team Depot will also surprise Baca and his family by gifting them a brand-new grill, patio set and fire pit. At the end of the project, all volunteers gathered around and raise the American and Army flags alongside Baca as a token of honor and appreciation.
The Home Depot Foundation’s annual Operation Surprise initiative aims to provide life-changing moments of surprise through service to our nation’s veterans. From Nov. 1 through Nov. 20 Team Depot will complete hundreds of service projects in honor of Veterans Day around the country. Since 2011, Home Depot has helped renovate and enhance more than 60,000 veteran homes and facilities.
Rebuild Together Sandoval County was founded in 1999 as a 501.c.3 non-profit organization originally called “Christmas in April”. From the very beginning, they were dedicated to helping those in Sandoval County who could not afford to make essential repairs to keep their homes safe and habitable.
The original goal was to bring together volunteers once a year, in April, to do a project together. From that modest start, the organization has grown into an organization that provides year-round assistance.