Touching Base: Lowe's, USO team up to help military families save money

LAKEWOOD, Wash.  -- In our new series, “Touching Base," we are focusing on our local military and their families, both on the job and in our community. 

This week we’re touching base with military spouses in Lakewood, taking you inside the Lowe’s Home Improvement Center and showing you how veterans are teaching families some vital skills to save money.

“It’s a vital skill that everybody should have, especially if you have kids and five crazy dogs,” says Steve Jackson, a military veteran and manager at Lowe's.

Jackson is teaching military spouses how to repair drywall. It requires patience, something Maria Blum has already mastered.

“We have moved at least five times,” says Blum.  She says her husband is active duty.

Thanks to this class, she says she can save her family money when her husband is deployed. 

“The goal of the workshop is really to empower our military spouses, by growing their confidence in tackling household projects.  Our military moves all the time. Typically at any duty station they are there three or four years, less sometimes. So you’re going to be in a lot of rental homes, and there’s going to be a lot of fees. If you aren’t able to fix things around the house, if your house gets damaged and even when they buy houses, they still have to have the skills to take care of the homes they own,” says Christine Vu with the USO (United Services Organization) Northwest.

“There’s probably a little bit of fear or hesitance that they can’t do it, when in actuality with a couple of tools, anybody can do it. They can do it like a pro can do it,” says Jackson.

If anybody knows, it’s Jackson.

“I did 73 good parachute jumps and one bad one, so that ended my career.  I was gone for over a year and everything from a clogged toilet, to a clogged sink, to a hole in the wall, you know, when the kids slam the door open.  And having her have those skills, I didn’t have to worry that she’s not able take care of something or have to spend all kinds of money on a contractor to come out.  So it empowered me to have her empowered,” says Jackson.

“Every time we move out we need to pay out of our deposit for them to fix things because we don’t know the proper way to do them.  So it’s really handy to know that now I can save money,” says Blum.

A partnership between Lowe’s and the USO Northwest made this class possible, and the USO Northwest is planning to expand the program in 2020.   Click here for more information or to get involved.