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Volunteers spruce up park

OCEANSIDE — Work to help veterans by renovating the grounds of Ivey Ranch Park started early on Nov. 9. Volunteers dug in and dirt flew as irrigation was install, a 21,000 square foot grass riding area was planted, entrance landscaping was replenished, and the10,000 square foot family gathering area was mulched. By noon, 130 volunteers from The Home Depot and The Mission Continues, broke for lunch and a heartfelt group cheer.
The project to renovate the grounds of Ivey Ranch Park was one of 320 projects across the U.S. that The Home Depot and The Mission Continues completed to help veterans between Sept. 11 and Nov. 11.
“The goal was 200 projects,” Catherine Woodling, communication specialist for The Home Depot Foundation, said. “We did 320 projects in two months.”
The Mission Continues gives veterans an opportunity to help fellow veterans through community service. It also gives veterans who participate a sense of accomplishment and camaraderie.
The Home Depot employees volunteer in community improvement projects year round as part of the company’s mission.
Christian Jessel, an employee of The Home Depot in Atlanta, Georgia, was one of the volunteers at Ivey Ranch Park. Jessel said he puts in about 80 hours of volunteer work a year.
“It’s absolutely part of our call,” Jessel said.
“I have never worked for a company that gives back so much,” Lisa Ference, manager of The Home Depot in Escondido, said.
The Home Depot employees suggested local projects for the two-month service blitz to help veterans.
Ivey Ranch Park was selected for renovations because of its Horses for Heroes therapeutic riding program that helps wounded military.
Ivey Ranch Park also provides therapeutic activities for disabled children and adults.  Its programs help many military families.
Other projects that were completed across the U.S. improved military houses, education facilities and community centers.
In Phoenix an outdoor gathering area for veterans was built, in Boston a vocational training center was upgraded and in Washington DC a residence for visiting families of wounded veterans was repaired.