On Thursday, October 26th, volunteers from the Home Depot set out to give Burbank’s Veterans of Foreign Wars post a complete makeover. The facility, located at 1006 W. Magnolia Blvd., saw over 70 volunteers on hand to help with the renovations.
Juan Guillen, Current Captain of Burbank’s VFW Post, said it was a “godsend” that Home Depot chose Burbank’s VFW Post as a recipient of the large grant. Guillen went on to say that because of Home Depot’s team of volunteers and their expertise, “they did in one day what would have taken me at least another year or more to do.”
Home Depot granted the project a $10,000 grant. The effort was a part of the Home Depot’s “Celebration of Service” campaign, which is a foundation designed to help veterans and their families. The campaign runs every year, with the goal of having provided over a quarter of a billion dollars to veteran-related projects by the year 2020.
Among the many improvements is a new paint job in the kitchen, front of the building, behind the building, and a new water heater. However, the biggest improvement was the roof. The roof now has a special coating to it, allowing the coating to flex sunlight, which will, in turn, reduce the monthly utility bill for the property.
All of this good news is a far cry from Guillen’s early days as a Post Commander. Before taking over, the Burbank VFW building was scheduled to remain open until February of this year. Since taking over, not only has Guillen and his group outlived their expiration date, but he has since increased the number of regular visitors by making the Post open to non-combat veterans too.
Still, the journey to bring the Burbank VFW Post from the brink of closure has not been a smooth one. The experience provided many learning opportunities and lessons in management. Guillen has also championed the Post’s transition into the modern age by becoming present on social media. However, without some of the support, Guillen has received, none of this would be possible.
Local groups, such as the Rotary Club and Cowboy Social Club, have lent a helping hand in maintaining the Burbank VFW Post. While local group support is pivotal to the Post’s well-being, Guillen aims to increase community support. “I want [the Post] to be a welcoming environment to everyone in the community,” Guillen said. In an effort to meet his goals, charities are able to host their events at the Post for free.
If you’re interested in helping Burbank’s VFW Post, or seeing the result of a “military-style cleaning” in person, Guillen invites members of the community to walk in and discuss a Booster Program he is currently working on. Furthermore, on November 10th, the community is invited to celebrate Veteran’s Day at the Post. All are welcomed to join and food will present at the event. Then, later that night, the community is invited to celebrate the Marine Corps birthday at 8 PM. A taco man will be present at the later event.