By Patricia Deal

Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center public affairs

Volunteers from the Home Depot in Killeen created a serenity garden in front of the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center's Fisher House here earlier this month as the final phase of an almost $15,000 home improvement project donated by the business.

"The Fisher House could certainly benefit from our services and we're happy to help," said Pam Mashburn, Team Depot captain on June 1. "The store donated supplies, and all the labor was done by volunteers - employees who come to help on their day off. We have no shortage of volunteers, as the majority of our employees are active-duty soldiers or veterans."

During the last six months, Team Depot members said they stretched their budget so they could do as much as possible for the Fisher House, inside and out. Volunteers painted all the rooms, laid carpet and tile and added finishing touches such as new blinds.

Two years ago volunteers built a pergola over the patio. This year they put a shed up for more storage space. Other improvements included landscaping the property and building a serenity garden and birdbath complete with colorful flowers and plants.

"I have no problem giving up my days off to help on these projects. Any time you can spend helping others is time well-spent, I think," said Debie Parsons, an Army veteran who has been in this area for seven years. She has volunteered often for community outreach programs throughout her tenure with Home Depot. "This is my way of saying thanks for all that you do."

Isaac Howard, manager of the Fisher House, said he is appreciative of everything the Home Depot does for the Fisher House.

"We rely heavily on donations so we deeply value the contribution and the hard work done by the Home Depot team," he said. "Families staying at the Fisher House are going through a sensitive and emotional time, so anything we can do to make their environment more pleasing and inviting helps improve their spirit."

The 57 Fisher Houses in the United States and Germany offer shelter and support for military members and their families during a medical crisis. Since 1990, Fisher Houses have saved families more than $192 million in lodging and transportations costs.

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