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Patty Camp spreads mulch at the base of a tree along Home Grown Hero Walking Trail near Grand Avenue in Gainesville.

Volunteers who work at Home Depot stores are sprucing up the Home Grown Hero Walking Trail and two parks ahead of the city’s Veterans Day ceremonies.

The Medal of Honor Host City Program received two grants totaling $6,600 from The Home Depot Foundation for work at the walking trail and the park. The funds provided for new mulch for 153 trees along the walking trail, according to program board President Tommy Moore, as well as at Medal of Honor Park. At Leonard Park, the grants are also funding new flowers at the digital sign welcoming visitors at the edge of the park as well as around Pavilion 1 and the monument next to it.

Home Depot employees volunteered their time Thursday, Oct. 31, to put down mulch along the Home Grown Hero Walking Trail. The area’s first freeze warning was in effect, turning volunteers’ breath into clouds of water vapor.

“We didn’t expect this type of weather. I think we had bug spray on the quote for it,” said Justin Carter, assistant manager at the Gainesville Home Depot, as he laughed.

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Mike Woodson drops a bag of mulch near a tree along the Home Grown Hero Walking Trail after having worked an overnight shift at the Home Depot in Gainesville.

It took about an hour for the volunteers from the Gainesville and Denton stores to use up the 300 bags Home Depot provided, said Moore, who is also a Gainesville City Council member. Volunteers will be working again this coming Thursday, Nov. 7, laying mulch at Medal of Honor Park and planting fall flowers at Leonard Park’s digital sign, around Pavilion 1 and at the veterans monument near the pavilion.

“I’m grateful they wanted to partner with us,” Moore said of Home Depot. “They were gracious enough to honor all veterans by doing the walking trail and the parks.”

It’ll be just in time for the city’s annual Veterans Day observance held at Leonard Park, 1000 W. California St.

The city will host its Veterans Day Commemoration beginning at 5:45 p.m. Monday, Nov. 11. The program will include the VFW color guard, remarks from a variety of speakers and performances of patriotic music, followed by a fireworks display near the Cooke County War Memorial.

California Street will close at about 6:20 p.m. for the fireworks show, according to Parks and Recreation Department Director Patrick McCage, but attendees will still be able to leave Leonard Park. Westbound traffic on California Street will be detoured to I-35 toward Farm-to-Market Road 1306.

Sgt. Mag. Dennis I Kretzschmar, a Gainesville native, will speak about his service during the Veterans Day event. He entered the U.S. Army in 1977 and has served in Korea and Afghanistan, receiving several awards including the Bronze Star Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the National Defense Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, according to a city press release.

The Gainesville High School Key Club president and Mayor Jim Goldsworthy are also scheduled to speak. Alycia Serna and the Metroplex United Pipe and Drum Corp. are to present selections of patriotic music.

The Veterans Day Commemoration is free and open to the public.

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