Disabled Navy veteran gets surprise gift: Home Depot donates wheelchair ramp for his home

SAN MARCOS, Calif. - A disabled Navy veteran was able to go back to his home, thanks to the work of volunteers with Home Depot.

10News first spoke to Mary Champlin in December of 2012. She told 10News reporter Itica Milanes that she hired Pro Estate Liquidators to sell her family heirlooms because she needed about $10,000 to build a wheelchair accessible ramp in her driveway for her husband Wally.

She gave Tonna Keith and Jasmine Jones more than $20,000 worth of her belongings, but several months passed and all she got from them was about $600.

"I've called them over 100 times," she told 10News during an interview in 2012.

Hours after her story aired, a representative from Home Depot called 10News and said they wanted to help Mary and Wally build that wheelchair ramp they desperately needed.    

On Friday, they unveiled the new driveway and wheelchair ramp for Wally. Before the renovations, the carport had a narrow driveway and a steep staircase into the house, which made it almost impossible for the Navy veteran to get inside his own San Marcos home.

"To think that he put his life on the line for our family and now we can give back to him, it's overwhelming," said Home Depot store manager Bret Bauer.

Team Depot also had a surprise for Mary.

"I didn't know about this," she said. "I was flabbergasted."

Home Depot brought in a table set and planted several fruit trees for them. They also built a brick retaining wall. It took 20 volunteers three weeks and $8,000 worth of donated materials to make it happen.

"I can't hardly talk without crying tears of joy," said Mary.

As for Keith and Jones, Oceanside police say they have scammed dozens of people, including their own relatives. Investigators say they are close to an arrest.

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