A U.S. war veteran and celebrated artist saw his modest New York apartment transformed on Friday as The Home Depot’s charitable foundation set out to improve the home for the wheelchair-bound man and his beloved dog.
Vietnam vet Jim Power was stunned when he learned his eight-by-eight Manhattan studio would be renovated as part of The Home Depot’s Celebration of Service program.
“I don’t think about it often, but I’m severely disabled,” Power told INSIDE EDITION. “I got sort of comfortable in my dilemma and accepted it. But they’re changing my life.”
When Power came home from war, he was faced with homelessness and crippling PTSD, which he fought to overcome through art.
Known as “the Mosaic Man,” Power creates murals on street poles, sidewalks and lampposts throughout the city that carry inspiring messages and are designed to represent the surrounding neighborhood.
His tiny apartment serves as both his living space and the base in which he begins his artwork.
“This will make his day-to-day life; (doing things) that you and I take for granted safer and will increase his productivity. He said we’re transforming a place where he just slept into an actual home,” said Shane Duffy, a national home improvement expert who has partnered with the foundation to make Power’s living space more accessible.
Duffy and volunteers worked on projects in the apartment throughout the day, including installing safety grab bars and devices for wheelchair mobility and installing shelving and storage units to maximize his space.
“We’re going to be making a work station for him because he makes art,” said Home Depot Captain Runn Roopchand as the group began working on Power’s apartment.
L to R: Shane Duffy, Jim Power, Home Depot Associate and Volunteer Julie Powell, Runn Roopchand (photo courtesy of The Home Depot)
“I can’t even begin to contemplate what kind of change this is making in my life. I feel blessed,” Power said.
“I’m accepting this help on behalf of every other veteran,” he continued. “The Home Depot—they’re not going to forget one of them and leave them on the battle field injured, as so many of them have come back from the war … and it’s not over for them. You have to be here to see what they’re doing. There’s a loving touch—it’s quite amazing.”
Power’s apartment is one of more than 22,000 homes that the foundation has transformed to make safer for veterans.
“I’m also a veteran myself… obviously it’s something I’m very passionate about,” Duffy said. “It’s a beautiful thing, just being a veteran and giving back to another veteran… veterans need to help each other.”
Power agreed, saying the act of generosity has inspired him to pay it forward.
“When I see this incredible team… every one of these people are volunteering and can’t wait to help here,” he told IE. “I can see it on people’s faces; they’re happy to help me… How do you put it into a couple words? I think saying thank you isn’t enough.
“They will see me get involved. See me put a veterans’ organization together in this neighborhood. This company has given me my faith back in this country,” he continued.
Team Depot is also donating $1, up to $1 million, to veteran support organizations for each social media post including the hashtag #ServiceSelfie.