On a cheerful day in May, a platoon of volunteers and contractors brought some sunshine to a deserving veteran in Ashville, N.Y. American flags were raised, hugs were shared, and high-fives were doled out gratuitously as Cody Willett, his wife Jessica, and their 3-year-old son, Carter (and a baby girl on the way), got their first peeks of their newly renovated home.
This spring, Tarkett announced its partnership with Military Makeover with Montel for its 2019 season. Airing on the Lifetime Network, Military Makeover offers hope and a helping hand on the home front to members of the military and their families. This special series enlists companies, designers, contractors, and other home improvement professionals to transform the homes and lives of military families across the country and make a difference in their communities.
Tarkett teamed up with friends from Piazza Carpet One of Jamestown West, N.Y., and NRF Distributors from August, Maine, to install more than 2,500 sq. ft. of flooring, including ProGen rigid core luxury vinyl tile, TruTEX luxury sheet, Downy carpet, and FieldTurf on a covered deck from Tarkett Sports.
“The military is a volunteer force, so all of these people stepped up to the plate when we, as a nation, asked them to,” said Joe Cavanaugh, vice president of residential distribution, Tarkett, who served in the U.S. Army for 23 years. “So, if we get a chance to help them and repay that a little bit—and only a smidge—we can only do a little bit to help, but every little bit we can do, we want to do.”
In 2009, Air Force weapons supply technician Willet was severely injured in an RPG attack in Afghanistan, suffering a fractured lower back, dislocated shoulder and badly damaged ankle. Over time, Willett’s recovery from his physical injuries has been compounded by the emergence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which afflicts many combat veterans.
“It has been a long, hard, uphill battle,” Willett said.
The Willetts wanted to make their home in Ashville comfortable and safe for their growing family, along with adapting it to Willett’s needs as he works toward a new career with the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office. With a baby on the way, and the fact that Willett is also recovering from a broken leg suffered when he slipped on some ice, the long list of needed home improvements has gone on hold. For more than a week, crews worked on renovations to the home of the Willett family.
Tarkett teamed up with the interior designer Jennifer Bertrand, construction manager Ryan Stanley, along with local area designers to recommend and provide flooring materials specific to the military family’s desires and needs. Each family has the opportunity to choose from any product in Tarkett’s residential catalog, from resilient flooring to waterproof rigid core vinyl.
On the main floor, which includes the kitchen, dining room, hallway, and bedrooms, designer Bertrand chose ProGen luxury vinyl tile and planks.
“I’m a snobby designer, and sometimes with vinyl flooring, it repeats and it looks cheap. This does not look cheap,” she said.
Designed to perform radically better under the rigors of daily wear, it holds up against water, temperature change and sunlight, resisting buckling, denting and warping, and more.
On the lower level, Bertrand chose Tarkett’s TruTex sheet flooring.
“I love this product because we can do this makeover really fast,” Bertrand said.
The 100% waterproof floor installs over most existing floor coverings and greatly reduces the time spent preparing concrete and plywood subfloors.
“It’s two times stronger than any other sheet product in the market, so the rip-tear-gouge technology is phenomenal,” said Jorge Morgado, regional business manager, Tarkett.
The bedrooms received flooring makeovers in the form of Downy carpet, 100% solution-dyed PET fiber with 3M Scotchgard protector. On a covered deck, the team put in some FieldTurf to soften the outdoor space and give the kids another place to play.
Tarkett first started working with Military Makeover when it participated in an episode in June 2018. They received such positive feedback from customers and employees that the company decided to expand its program in 2019 to involve other distributor and retailer partners. For the first makeover episode, Tarkett received assistance from Flooring Options by Carpet One and Start 2 Finish Flooring, both of St. Petersburg, Fla.
“Tarkett has always been committed to doing good in the communities where we live and work, but this was a chance to go a step further and involve our partners in those efforts,” said Jeff Fenwick, president and CEO of Tarkett North America. “Plus, it’s a natural extension of our Tarkett Cares program, where we’ve donated over $650,000 in product the last couple of years to worthy causes like hurricane relief and Habitat for Humanity.”
Tarkett Cares encourages all employees around the world to spend up to two days a year of their work time on a charitable initiative and to share their time and expertise on a volunteer basis.
“This program allows every employee to spend up to two days a year of their work time on charitable initiatives,” said John Heckman, senior marketing manager, Tarkett. “And helping out members of the military was at the top of that list for 18 employees on the Military Makeover project.”