Volunteers transform home of Mount Vernon officer left legally blind after shooting
MOUNT VERNON, Wash. -- It has been nearly a year since a Mount Vernon police officer was shot in the head while on the job. Mike McClaughry ultimately lost his eyesight.
Now, Home Depot employees are volunteering their time to improve McClaughry's home. With a little bit of elbow grease, they hope to say thank you to a man who has made a big difference in his community.
“It's a very important thing to do to take care of people who take care of us,” said Mike Stephens with Home Depot.
McClaughry, aka "Officer Mike," is grateful for a second chance at life. But the bullet that went through his head last December left him legally blind and short-term memory loss.
He's now recovering from surgery he had last Thursday to remove fragments in his head.
“Right now, all I'm trying to do is I'm trying to gain strength,” McClaughry said.
Because McClaughry has limited mobility and can't see, Home Depot volunteers are stepping in to help to make McClaughry's backyard secure.
“I've always been looking forward for a year now to go into my backyard and just walk around without having to worry,” McClaughry said.
With the help of a $9,000 grant, Home Depot volunteers will put up a new fence, a raised garden beds and a retaining wall.
It’s all part of Home Depot’s annual "Celebration of Service" campaign. To date, the organization has worked on more than 34,000 veterans’ homes nationwide.
“Officer Mike may not have been an armed forces, but he's a veteran in my mind as a police officer and a community servant,” Stephens said. “Officer McClaughry has been in the community for 30 years. He’s very well-thought of. This was a no-brainer for us.”
“He's always been amazing. I had three kids who grew up here as they were going through their teenage years; he was always amazing to them. He's really been a good guy,” Wayne Hawkins with Home Depot.
Hawkins went on to say, “We work so hard at trying to do the right thing. These (police officers) are doing it day in and day out and they’re always in difficult situations. So, to be able to come over and give a little bit back, it’s just amazing.”
McClaughry said he's deeply moved by the community's support.
“They've all done a stellar job of stepping up. I can't thank them enough,” McClaughry said. “Just having the options that Home Depot has provided- that is just wonderful. It really is.”
The Home Depot Foundation sid it has invested more than $210 million in veteran-related projects since 2011. The foundation pledges to invest a quarter of a billion by 2020.