Vietnam veteran’s home remodeled

Home Depot campaign spearheads work on Richard Postell's house

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Salutes to Rick Postell’s service are all over the cap that identifies him as a Vietnam veteran. They include the image of a Purple Heart for a combat wound; he earned three of them.

On Thursday, a team of volunteers began a more down-home salute to Postell’s military service. It includes new kitchen appliances, a new front door and a bathroom remodel.

The Hazel Dell project is part of Home Depot’s fifth annual Celebration of Service campaign. It helps veterans — many with service-related disabilities — remain in their homes by providing safety upgrades and improving accessibility.

Postell said he’s dealing with cancer as a result of exposure to Agent Orange, and has some other health issues as well. Postell said he served in Vietnam from 1965 to 1967, and received a Silver Star and a Silver Star for his role in special-operations missions.

After a friend nominated him for the Celebration of Service, project coordinators Jennifer Capen and Robert Tilton of Home Depot visited the house where Postell has lived since 1988.

“Jennifer and Robert asked what I needed,” Postell said.

A big problem was dry rot in the master bath, Tilton said. That remodel included installing bathroom fixtures that meet ADA standards. Safety rails on the stairs of the split-level home was another high-priority assignment.

With all the assessment and design preliminaries figured out, they spent a good three months figuring out the scope of work before the team showed up Thursday morning, Tilton said.

And now that they’re digging into the job list, Postell said, “They’re doing more than I asked.”

About 25 volunteers from seven regional Home Depot outlets — including two in Vancouver — took part Thursday.

Mark Hopkins says the work he’s doing to help Postell remain in his house is his fourth or fifth Celebration of Service project.

“I love seeing the difference this can make in someone’s life,” Hopkins said.

In addition to the volunteer labor, Home Depot also donated about $12,000 worth of materials and kitchen appliances.

According to a news release, The Home Depot Foundation has invested more than $105 million to provide safe housing to veterans since 2011, and with the help of with Team Depot volunteers, has transformed more than 22,000 veterans’ homes.

Tom Vogt: 360-735-4558; www.twitter.com/col_history; tom.vogt@columbian.com