Lumber department manager Ali Hamdouchi snaps a selfie with coworkers after work was finished. Photo: Denise Civiletti

A town park in Wading River is in better shape today thanks to the efforts of a team of more than a dozen department managers from Riverhead Home Depot.

Police Officer’s Memorial Park, also known as Bayberry Park, had seen better days. Its playground equipment was in need of repainting, picnic tables were rotting and playground surfaces were worn out and rutted.

Bruce Clark, who manages the delivery department, saw an article about the dilapidated condition of the park in the News-Review this summer and brought it to the attention of store manager Andy Carbone.

“I knew we did work on a playground at Aquebogue Elementary School when the store first opened,” Clark said today as he and overnight freight supervisor Steven Evangelista worked to build the last of five new picnic benches at the park this afternoon.

“Andy said, ‘Let’s do it,’” Evangelista said.

Bruce Clark, foreground, building a picnic table with Steven Evangelista. Photo: Denise Civiletti
Bruce Clark, foreground, building a picnic table with Steven Evangelista. Photo: Denise Civiletti

Home Depot empowers store managers to undertake projects like this, said district manager Yvette Stubbs, who oversees the seven Home Depot stores in eastern Suffolk. Carbone and Stubbs were also on hand to help out today.

All the staff members who worked today painting equipment, building new picnic tables, repairing a broken walkway, spreading mulch and cleaning up were there as volunteers, on their own time, Carbone said. The mulch was donated by Scotts.

“We are all about the community,” Carbone said. “Without the community, you’re nothing.”

The Riverhead Home Depot is currently working to install new windows on the home of a veteran in need, he said. The windows and labor are all donated. The veteran’s need was brought to the store’s attention by Riverhead Town Veterans Committee co-chairperson Liz Stokes, he said.

Riverhead Home Depot flooring department manager works on refinishing playground equipment at the Wading River park. Courtesy photo: Michele
Riverhead Home Depot flooring department manager works on refinishing playground equipment at the Wading River park. Courtesy photo: Michele Cardaci

“This was in pretty bad shape,” Carbone said, pointing to a piece of playground equipment that had gotten a facelift today by flooring department manager Colin Hill.

He reached out to parks and recreation superintendent Ray Coyne, who brought him to Councilman Tim Hubbard, the town board’s liaison to the recreation advisory committee. Coyne said today he was very pleased with the end result and thanked both Home Depot and the councilman “for stepping up and beautifying one of our flagship parks.”

Hubbard stopped at the park today to see the results of the group’s efforts.

Riverhead Councilman Tim Hubbard thanks the workers for their efforts. Photo: Denise Civiletti
Riverhead Councilman Tim Hubbard thanks the workers for their efforts. Photo: Denise Civiletti

“This is great,” he said. “How exciting it is to see a company like Home Depot doing something like this. People say the big stores don’t give back to the community, but they do. And this is a good example,” Hubbard said.

“The town is broke and having you step up to help with something like this is extremely important for us,” Hubbard told the Home Depot employees. “On behalf of the Town of Riverhead, thank you so much from the bottom of my heart.”

Colin Hill with the finished product. Photo: Denise Civiletti
Colin Hill with the finished product. Photo: Denise Civiletti
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Ali Hamdouchi spreads mulch on the playground.Photo: Denise Civiletti
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Garden department manager Chris Magee inspects cement at the site of a walkway repair. Photo: Denise Civiletti
A crew of Home Depot managers spruced up Police Officer's Memorial Park in Wading River today. Photo: Denise Civiletti>
The Home Depot volunteers pose for a photo with Councilman Tim Hubbard.

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.