Heroes on the Homefront: Home Depot

Home Depot has several military-friendly programs, including its extended pay and benefits program.
Home Depot has several military-friendly programs, including its extended pay and benefits program.
Home Depot's Extended Pay and Benefits Program has assisted 1,800 deployed soldiers, including four from the Savannah store who are currently serving overseas.
Home Depot's Extended Pay and Benefits Program has assisted 1,800 deployed soldiers, including four from the Savannah store who are currently serving overseas.
Suzanne Dan is the human resources manager of the Home Depot store on Abercorn in Savannah.
Suzanne Dan is the human resources manager of the Home Depot store on Abercorn in Savannah.

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - It's one thing for a deployed soldier to not know what he might experience overseas. It's something entirely different for them to not know what they might return to.

The hHme Depot has been taking steps to erase that uncertainty.

"We ensure that the associate who is deployed will have a good job when they come back,'' says Suzanne Dan, human resources manager of the Home Depot store on Abercorn in Savannah, which has four associates currently deployed. "We also offer continued medical and dental benefits to the immediate family.''

An extended pay and benefits program - which has equalized pay differential and made sure 1,800 employees had jobs when they returned from deployment - is one of several ways the world's largest home improvement retailer has been one of the nation's biggest military supporters.

In addition to actively recruiting reservists, veterans and active military, Home Depot offers an accelerated management track for junior military officers and has completed millions of dollars home repairs for families of deployed soldiers. In 2004, the company sent $1 million in tools to support the military efforts in Iraq.

"We appreciate that there is a large commitment by the associates to protect our freedom,'' said Dan. "And we not only support them in our prayers and our thoughts, but we also do put these programs together just to show our support and support their families.''

Essie Fort, Jr., recently saw how the company's military-friendly policies are more than words.

A veteran of 20 years in the Army, who was working for Home Depot in California, he moved suddenly when his wife was transferred to Fort Stewart.

There was a job waiting for him at Home Depot's Savannah store when he arrived. And he knows there will be support available for him here when Jennifer is deployed later this month.

"They go out of their way to accommodate veterans, which is a good thing,'' said Fort, a specialist in the tool rental department. "I feel fortunate to be working here, I really do, because I get to see it in action. Instead of a lot of verbal, you actually see it.''

It's just as easy to see how much home depot's deployed associates appreciate their employer's support.

"That's very important to them,'' said Dan. "I know the one young man we've heard from, that was one of his statements, that he couldn't wait to get back and go back to work here.''