By William K. Alcorn
AMVETS Post 44 Career Center is involved in a tight race to win the Home Depot Foundation’s Aprons in Action September Facebook contest.
At stake is a $25,000 Home Depot gift card and the right to compete for a $250,000 cash grand prize.
In the September round of competition, as of 4 p.m. Tuesday, AMVETS Post 44, 305 Elm St., with 3,553 votes, trailed Heroes Night Out of Cedar Park, Texas, by just six votes and led two other veteran- focused nonprofit organizations by substantial margins.
The other two September contestants are Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation, Indianapolis, with 1,279 votes; and U.S. VETS Barbers Point, Kapolei, Hawaii, with 1,102 votes.
In addition to the $25,000 gift card, the monthly winner receives a set of 50 Ryobi 18V ONE+ power tools to help fund a community-improvement project as well as the opportunity to go up against 10 other finalists early in 2013 and compete on Facebook for $250,000 from The Home Depot Foundation.
The organizations that garner the second- and third-most votes in the contest finale will win $150,000 and $100,000, respectively. The monthly runner-up organizations receive a $5,000 Home Depot gift card.
AMVETS Post 44 Career Center was nominated by Buddy Colley, manager of the Boardman Home Depot on Southern Boulevard, and Team Depot captain for the year.
Colley said the nomination featured the project in 2011 at the AMVETS Career Center that included volunteers from Home Depot stores in Boardman, Niles, Salem, Austintown and Hermitage, Pa.
The 2011 project, which included interior painting and construction of a handicap-access ramp and flower beds, was a huge success, and Team Depot plans another project Oct. 11 to perform exterior painting and landscape work, Colley said.
“It’s pretty cool that we get to do this for the Youngstown area,” he said.
The AMVETS Career Center provides career services for veterans, active-duty service members, National Guard, and reserve members who have served honorably or are currently serving.
“Help us make a difference by voting every day on Facebook, and tell everyone you know to do the same,” Jan Brown, commander of AMVETS Post 44, urged Mahoning Valley residents.
“If we win the $25,000 from Home Depot we would be able to enlarge our career center, add energy-efficient windows and perform various other updates to make our career center a better and more comfortable place for veterans,” said Brown, a retired Air Force senior master sergeant.
Individuals can vote daily in the contest, which runs through 11:59 p.m. Sept. 30.
The final percentages of votes for each organization will be posted on Home Depot and Home Depot Foundation Facebook pages at 9 a.m. on Oct. 1.
The AMVETS Post 44 Career Center is looking for the same kind of support from area residents that enabled Second Harvest Food Bank of the Mahoning Valley and two other agencies to share $1 million by winning Walmart’s Fighting Hunger Together Facebook campaign last spring.
“You don’t need to be a veteran to vote. We need everybody’s help so we can help others,” Brown said. “If anybody can do it, the people of the Mahoning Valley can.”