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Home Depot grant provides materials for Evans Mills Ambulance building renovation this weekend

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EVANS MILLS — Thanks to a $13,500 grant received in April from the Home Depot Foundation, volunteers will spend this weekend spiffing up the Evans Mills Volunteer Ambulance Squad building, 8733 Factory St.

People are encouraged to join the 60 volunteers already signed up for the event from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

A free lunch Saturday will include pizzas donated by Papa John’s. T.G.I. Friday’s, Watertown, will provide appetizers Sunday. Bottled water will be provided.

Lesley A. Jackson, vice president of the Evans Mills squad, called the Home Depot grant a much-needed blessing that will give the 25-year-old building a makeover.

Work to be completed this weekend includes installation of new flooring and carpeting throughout the department, which includes a kitchen, living room, two dorm rooms, two bathrooms and three ambulance bays.

Damaged windows will be replaced, and an outdoor patio will be built in the backyard to be used by volunteers for cookouts.

Mrs. Jackson said volunteers have painted walls and installed cabinets in the kitchen this month. The kitchen will feature a refrigerator from Home Depot, she said, and includes several appliances donated by Watertown Appliance.

Improvements are slowly bringing the old building back to life.

“I’m still kind of on cloud nine about this,” said Mrs. Jackson, one of the six paid employees for the squad, which is staffed by 25 volunteers.

She said a volunteer found out about the grant program at Home Depot in April. About two weeks later, the squad learned it had been chosen to receive the grant.

“Evans Mills is one of the lowest-funded stations in the county, and a lot of our stuff is paid by donations and medical billing,” Mrs. Jackson said. “One of the reasons we got this grant is the squad comes on Fort Drum to serve. We have active-duty volunteers here, and a lot of our community members are active-duty and veterans.”

Home Depot employee Joshua G. Countryman, who helped the squad apply for the grant, knew the department had a good chance of acquiring money after talking with a squad volunteer.

Home Depot established a fund of $80 million in 2011, Mr. Countryman said, to be given away over a five-year period toward projects that support military communities.

“They told me Fort Drum is one of their main calls for emergencies because of the main population there, and I knew that they could be approved for the grant,” Mr. Countryman said. He and about 20 other Home Depot employees, most of whom have construction experience, will spend the weekend volunteering in Evans Mills.

Volunteers are encouraged to bring breakfast items, such as coffee and doughnuts, and potluck dishes or desserts to share.

To sign up in advance, call Mrs. Jackson at 804-4270.

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