On Veteran’s Day, the Home Depot surprised myself and 8 other bloggers with the opportunity to change a local military family’s life. Each blogger was asked to solicit nominations for a family in our local metro area who a) had a member that was either a veteran or was actively serving in the military, b) owned their home, and c) could greatly benefit from winning a $20,000 home makeover.
As you can imagine, the nominations just poured in. I was honored and humbled that families and friends of families where sharing their stories with me. During the selection process, I laughed and I cried. There are so many deserving families in my area, and I had a great deal of difficulty deciding which family would benefit the most from the grand prize. Although each of the 9 families ultimately selected by the DIY and military life bloggers would receive $500 in holiday decor from the Home Depot, I knew that the $20,000 home makeover could improve a family’s life tenfold.
Friends, I’d like to introduce you to the beautiful Porter Family from Killeen, Texas.
The Porter Family has served our country through five tours of duty, living separately from dad Tony due to housing issues. Not only are they living far apart, but they are in a very small house from which they are busting from the seams. In her first email to me, mom Tina described their living situation very well:
My husband, SFC William Porter aka Tony, has been serving in the Army as an Active Duty soldier since Feb. 1996. He has been deployed to Kuwait before the war, to Iraq twice after 9/11 and is currently deployed to Afghanistan. He has also done a tour in Korea. He received a Purple Heart during his first deployment to Iraq and a Bronze Star during his second along with other various medals over the years. My husband’s current unit is at Joint Base Lewis McChord in Washington state. However, we own a home in Killeen, and that is where myself and six of our seven children are living.
SFC William Porter, before deployment to Iraq in 1996
Our home in Killeen is a small little starter home we bought while my husband was stationed here from 1999-2008. It is a three bedroom, 1434sq ft. single family home. Over the years we have lived in this home off and on and also rented it out a couple times. Last year while we were stationed at Fort Knox KY, we even put it on the market thinking it would be better to sell than to keep up with it as well as whatever home we were living in away from here. After a year of it setting empty and putting every extra penny we could find in to updating per our Realtor’s suggestions we made the decision to just move myself and the children back in since my husband was deploying again anyway.
So why am I asking for us to be the family you choose for the Home Depot Gift of Good? We still have a list of things we need to do to this house in order to live in it comfortably. Our main issue at this time is our foundation. The house had had issues before buying it and was re-leveled sometime after it was built but before we purchased it. Upon returning to the home we found one whole corner of the home up and out of the dirt! It seems as though since we live beside a ditch our yard has been eroding away from this side of the house. One way we were told we could fix this would be to put a retaining wall along side the home, ditch side, and refill the yard with fill dirt. I called around and did get a quote for about $7,000 to do this. Without this fixed our foundation is highly likely to end up having more issues which will end up costing more.
Another issue we are having is rooms in the house. At this time I have three boys, ages 13, 11 and 5 in one room, my two youngest girls 9 and 7 in our smallest room and then my 16 year old shares the master bedroom with me. This is working now but at some point we are hoping my husband will return to the area and it is really going to make things tighter trying to accommodate. Since our garage has never really been large enough to fit our vehicles in we figured if we could ever afford to we would convert it into another room. That one extra room would allow us so much more comfort for our children!
Lastly, out of everything we’ve had repaired, replaced or updated in the house our AC unit is still the original from when it was built. Having our ducts replaced and cleaned has helped with our bills and keeping the air flow adequate through the home but it seems each year we are paying for repairs to keep the old unit going. Replacing it would be a great benefit to us and allow us to put money elsewhere.
My family would be grateful to receive help with any of these home issues. We have been trying our best to keep up with updates and repairs, but it would be awesome to just sit back and relax a bit in our home without worrying about how we are going to get these things completed without taking away from other things our family needs.
The voting kicks off in the Home Depot Gift of Good contest on Tuesday. For two weeks, you will be able to visit Home Depot’s Facebook page and vote on the family you most want to receive the $20,000 home makeover. I desperately want it to be the Porter family, so I will be harassing you for your vote (you’ve been warned!). This family has given so much to our country, and I know the Glue Gun Army will give a few mouse clicks to them. If you haven’t already, go ahead and “like” the Home Depot on Facebook so you’ll be ready when it’s time to vote!
Tomorrow, I will share with you my family’s surprise visit with the Porters. Their wonderful spirit was just one of the things we had to be thankful for over the weekend. I hope you had a great holiday, too.
P.S. – My One Project Closer giveaway for a $50 gift card to Home Depot runs through tomorrow. If you haven’t already entered, go and do so now! Lots of great tips have been shared for saving money during the holidays.