Last Updated: July 8th, 2020 at 3:15 pm
Read Time: 5 Minutes
DACULA, Georgia — POWERHOME SOLAR is a huge supporter of the military, so the opportunity for us to be part of another season of Military Makeover, airing on Lifetime TV, two years after making our first appearance was a no-brainer.
Filming for the latest Makeover took place recently in suburban Atlanta, at the home of Marine Master Gunnery Sergeant Marcelino Marquez, and we installed 20 solar panels and a Generac battery backup system at his home. What made this Makeover even more special for us involves the crew we selected to do the work. Army veteran Geoff Glenn and his North Carolina-based POWERHOME team got the chance to represent the company, given that four of the other five members of his crew are veterans themselves.
Glenn, Carlos Cordero (Navy), Jose Graves (Navy), Ben Davis (Army), Aaron Porter (Marines) and Joe Alimo were joined by POWERHOME operations executives Mike Weber and Dave East (Marines), and master electrician Bryan Law (Marines) to get the job done for the Marquez family. Added together, that’s seven veterans among the nine that had a chance to give back to someone who spent nearly three decades serving his country.
Each one of the POWERHOME SOLAR veterans got to wear a POWERHOME/Military Makeover-branded hat that designated themselves as such, a touch thought up by POWERHOME Chief Sales Officer Ben Brookhart. Our veterans were appreciative of the customized swag, and all of our crew members wore similarly customized T-shirts made for the occasion. Even the Military Makeover staffers were impressed with our level of wardrobe creativity and wanted some of the apparel themselves!
How POWERHOME’s crew got the job done
It was intentional for Glenn to build his team with veterans because of their experience in completing military missions without fanfare. Watching his team in action, very little was said between the guys, with their words holding much more intention than simply grabbing others’ attention to rib each other and have a good time. Such talk simply would get in the way of getting the job done, and their quiet intensity and efficiency made them fun to watch.
“It works a lot better because when you work with other veterans, you kind of talk how you want to talk to each other just to get the job done,” Davis said. “It’s pretty straight and to the point. No one is toe-touching around each other, everyone is just saying what has to be said to get the job done.”
A typical installation of this size would normally take a POWERHOME crew less than a full day to complete. But because of the filming considerations, where work sometimes had to stop to accommodate the Military Makeover crew, it spilled over into a second day. No matter the delays, all of the POWERHOME installers loved having the chance to give back.
“I’ve never been able to be part of a project to help a veteran,” Cordero said. “To finally be able to do that for a veteran is awesome because I don’t think veterans necessarily get as much appreciation as they should get. So anytime you can do something like this, it’s a blessing, it’s a really good feeling. I wish I could do more of it, honestly.”
Those thoughts were seconded by Porter, who somewhat humorously was caught in the Marquezes’ attic for about 15 minutes when another Makeover crew member closed the attic hatch without realizing Porter was up there running electrical conduit lines as part of the solar array. Porter sweated his way through that, getting an assist from Alimo to get him out. Thank goodness for cell phones!
“I’ve had a longstanding dream to support things like suicide prevention, veterans and things like that,” Porter said. “So any little bit helps, and for me to get my hands on something physically like this, to me that’s a dream come true. I love it. We live in a country where veterans aren’t taken care of first and foremost, which is a shame.”
POWERHOME helps Marcelino Marquez
Marquez has his own personal scars from serving in the Marines. He spent 27 years on active duty and in the reserves, and spent more than five years working in Mortuary Affairs, a division tasked with recovering the bodies and remains of those killed in action and returning them home. Marquez struggles every day with the experiences he had working in Mortuary Affairs, but he’s intent on sharing his story and the stories of others who do similar work to offer his support and hope.
Marquez’s story hits close to home for East, given the dangers he routinely faced during an 11-year stint in the Marines. In speaking with him, you can tell he’s reluctant to talk about some of that past because of the pain.
“I know first-hand fellow Marines that have gone through some hardships in their life, whether it be PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) or injuries, casualties. I lost 15 brothers over there. It’s great to give back to the military community because when we get out, it’s all great, but we serve our country and it feels like nobody’s there to help. What we’re doing for the veterans for Military Makeover, it hits home. We’ve got veterans living on the street because they can’t get help. Military suicides are through the roof. It’s just an awesome thing that we’re doing and am glad to be part of it.”
With the work now complete at the Marquez home, we feel so fortunate to have been part of it. And with the 4th of July weekend upcoming, it is a reminder to say thank you to all military personnel for the sacrifices they have made to protect our nation and the freedoms we enjoy.
This season of Military Makeover, airing on Lifetime TV, will begin in late August. Be sure to watch for the show and see how the Marquez home transforms into their forever home.