Studies have shown that nature can ease stress and anxiety, help you recover from surgery and illness faster, and even increase your mental "flow". If that's the case, the staff and patients at VAPHS's Heinz campus are in good shape after a voluntary project conducted by determined community partners.
A special group of community volunteers joined an esteemed group of VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System (VAPHS) employees to enrich several green spaces at VAPHS recently.
Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful and The Home Depot Foundation joined forces for Veterans at our Heinz campus on Oct. 4. Approximately 75 employees from 13 regional Home Depot stores revitalized our Freemasons Pavilion, an outdoor courtyard area for Veterans and staff to enjoy, as well as a few other garden spaces throughout the campus.
The Freemasons Pavilion, originally paid for and constructed by the Freemason Society in 1999, is a peaceful, environmental escape for Veterans and staff outside of the hospital environment. It is the site for events such as cookouts, concerts, talent shows, and even holiday light up night.
The Home Depot Foundation donated $31,000 in supplies, such as sod, lumber, plants, paint, and even two barbecue grills. Under the guidance of VAPHS staff, the crew built wheelchair-accessible, raised garden beds for Veterans to cultivate, dug up dead plants and trees, laid mulch, refreshed paint, and scrubbed the existing water fountain.
"This means everything to our Veterans who live here," said David Difuccia, VAPHS voluntary and recreation program leader. "These volunteers improved this space for Veterans and to them today, they were their sons, daughters, cousins, grandkids, nieces and nephews, here to pay tribute to them and what they've done for their country."
This effort is part of Celebration of Service, The Home Depot Foundation's two-month initiative to improve homes and lives for U.S. military Veterans. During Celebration of Service, The Home Depot associates will complete hundreds of service projects across the country between September 11 and Veterans Day to give back to those who have served our Nation.