Stiggy’s expanded orange family

Posted by Jennifer on September 27, 2021

I will try to sum up our Home Depot experience with a *cheer* of their praises. Thank you, Gratitude, Generosity, Appreciation. Those words don’t even touch the tip of this Orange goodness…

Here is exactly what HOME DEPOT stands for to me …

H- Heartfelt. Home Depot and their employees are the most hardworking, heartfelt, handy humans that I know!! They have big hearts that truly help. Bringing a huge amount of hope to our Veteran community, homes and lives. Honorable humanitarians that made us very happy as well as humbled.

O-Opportunity- Winning Aprons and Actions competition like a Olympian (trying to sneak a “O” word in) was just the beginning. What to do with the overgenerous gift cards  was very overwhelming. Being opportunistic we wanted to make the most out of it. We came up with a outrageous plan than turned out OUTSTANDING! Including our new orange painted door…..OOOOOOOH yes!

M- Magnificent. A much better word than Awesome (which I said at least 1 million times that day) The whole day was magical.  I was floating through the most surreal experience.  The day went by in a flash, I was running everywhere feeling like I accomplished nothing. I literally crashed in bed that night, replaying every moment in my mind, smiling at the memories. I played the WLNS News clip, relishing in everything ,when the reality of this dreamlike day hit me. All of this wouldn’t be if Ben “Doc Stiggy” was alive.  There was Carrie (my sis-in-law) talking on TV about Ben, her only son,  “One thing a mother never wants is for her son to be forgotten….and here his legacy still lives on…” 

E-Emotional- I am a crier. I cry when I am happy, frustrated or sad. This week had me in tears for many reasons. One of the biggest moments was when Rich Bragiel made our Stiggy’s Dogs sign for us. He was here before helping with the prep work. We had talked and I mentioned the Caduceus on our Logo was important to me because it was the Tattoo Ben had on his arm (also stood for what he was doing). When he showed up two days later with the most Beautiful  sign he handmade for us, I was overwhelmed with emotion. When I saw that he detailed the Caduceus with gold to stand out, the tears weren’t stopping. There was a lot of emotions and crying going on and it wasn’t just me. So the next day Jerry Jones made a rule that “Fridays, were a no cry day at Stiggys”- that rule did not last long…. 

D- Donations- So many people, business, organizations  donated so much to us. Goods, food, tools, services and most important TIME. Huge shout out to Roybi (and all the tools we won and got extra donated!!), Geyer Farm Services, Walmart, Glidden, Jimmy-Johns, Beher Paint, Jonna’s, Tomato Brothers, GW Nursery, Howling Cafe, Alchins Disposal, Lashbrook Port a Potties, Buffalo Wild Wings Howell, Personal friends who spent a LOT of time doing anything and everything to help (Elicia, Bill, Doreen, Carrie,Liz, Dave, Dan,Bruce and his twin Bill). As a non profit we survive on contributions but this goodness went above and beyond.

E- Excellence. And this starts at the top with Home Depot’s CEO Frank Blake. A successful business is not because of it’s leader, but the group the leader has around him. Home Depot and what Mr, Blake has achieved is a prime example.  Home Depot encourages community service, donates to society, giving outside and within (employees love where they work). In this day and age where corporations are *cutting back* on everything, Home Depot does not. For their employees, they have store outings, contest, recognitions and rewards.  Mr. Blake, I am  in awe of you, not only for the all the successes you have created financially, your growth, or how much you give back to the community. But the way you have created pride in the workplace and throughout the community.  I want to be like you when I grow up ….

P- Poignant. Powerful messages from our Veterans. I could talk on and on about what we do and how it helps the Veteran. But one look at them with their dogs, and it speaks volumes!!! Terran Frye, who started ALL of this- walking into Home Depot last January  (talking initially to Jerry Jones), deserves a big thank you. Proving my point many times over of exactly how Hershey has helped. This whole day wouldn’t have been if you hadn’t had the confidence to walk into Home Depot that day. Jamie Gorm, who gives himself daily to help Stiggys Dogs. Teaming with new Veterans as they arrive, training with our dogs through the program, and working tirelessly to help us with this project.  Nothing was more powerful that day, than Mike and Barrett  (with his family) speaking to the Bloggers. Here was a Veteran, just 6 weeks paired, talking to a group of people about things he normally would never say. I saw a few teary eyed people leave that meeting. One of them Molly, Mike wife, beaming with pride over her husband. Eric Brown, who has the famous Patton, was the perfect spokesperson that day- being pulled by many people-talked too, petted and pictures snapping. This is a environment that is very *trigger* filled for our Veterans. None of that mattered to them then, their pride and love for their dogs and our organization shined more than sun that day.

O- Outreach  The outreach from our community and beyond was outstanding. Along with Frank Blake came a group of International Bloggers. 13 people from all over got to be a part of the Celebration of Service campaign with Home Depot. We were lucky to be one of the event that they were to attend. Meeting them and reading about their experiences here is a unique benefit. Building public awareness about not only Stiggys Dogs, but Service Dogs, PTSD and TBI has now spread through social med. The MSL Atlanta group (marketing group for Home Depot) also attended and brought with them a entourage of news media. Meeting Nick Schubert after talking to him months ago before the Aprons in Action contest, was a huge highlight! Paired by with meeting and talking with the wonderful Ty Hodge (Northern Division manager-my new friend)

*Bloggers who attended: Ashley and Jamin(Handmade Home), Dan (Military Avenue), Kierstie (Brown Paper Packages), Emily (Decor Chick), Stacy, (Not Just a Housewife), Lori (Witty Little Secret), Gail (My Repurposed Life), Rachel (Lovely Crafty Home), Kris (The New Normal), Diane (In My Own Stlye) and Trisha (24/7 Moms).

T- Team Work- The team starts and ends with Jerry Jones, Jessica Gearheart and Sue Samuels. Jerry Jones (affectionately known as *Angel* to me) has been the biggest supporter (and word spreader) for Stiggys Dogs. After successfully heading our last project (with Amy Armijo) Jerry asked Jessica to help with this one. Jessica and Jerry took on a HUGE project, this was more than landscaping and  home redecoration. This was working with ADA complacence, handicap ramps, redesigning bathrooms to add handicap showers….way more than I would have ever been able to accomplish. Jessica was so organized, the binder of receipts, drawings, etc (Black Bible)  she created was indispensable. Sue Samuels, Howell Store Manger, got  personally involved. Bringing with her a crew (and her wonderful parents) that she would NOT let quit until the project was totally finished. (Sue at 6.5 months pregnant insisted on tiling our bathroom floor!!!) EVERYONE, the volunteers from all the Home Depot stores, volunteers from other stores that did not have to participate. People who drove from afar and got a hotel the night before to be here (Sue DePalma). The family and friends who took time to help. A community of people coming together for the greater good. Building a better place for our Veterans and their families. Everyone together, as one big family. One big, growing, wonderful Stiggy’s Dog family….

I leave you with a *cheer* that Team Depot kicked off our event with:

Give me a H … H”

Give me a O … O”

Give me a M …M”

Give me a E … E”

Give me a D … D”

Give me a E … E”

Give me a P … P”

Give me a O … O”

Give me a T … T”

What is spell?Home Depot”

Can’t hear you? ”HOME DEPOT”

What are we going to do? “KICK SOME ASS!!!”

 And that they did!  …

See more pictures click here

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