Gilbert’s Carpets to honor four Veterans with floor remodel

Open to Veterans in Mecosta, Osceola, Lake and Newaygo counties

BIG RAPIDS — Lending a helping hand to Veterans in a community is important for many, and one Big Rapids business is bringing back an initiative to help Veterans infrastructurally in a big way. 

Gilbert’s Carpets Plus Color Tile has brought back its Dream Floor Makeover this year, which will benefit even more Veterans this time around. 

For the 2021 makeover, individuals entered or nominated a Veteran to win a dream room makeover. The first event benefited Alan Kearns, a Chase resident, and as a result, he and his wife, Cathy, now have a brand new kitchen in their farmhouse.

While last year’s nominations benefited one Veteran, this year’s drawing will benefit four different Veterans and their families. 

Amy Parker, a sales associate at Gilbert’s, said the business was excited to be able to expand its impact. 

“The staff really showed an interest in helping the military and giving back to our community,” Parker said. “We kind of felt like it was something that affects everybody, and we all know someone that's in the military or a veteran. We kind of feel like the community doesn't do enough to show their support, and Veterans are forgotten about at times. We just wanted to help them out.

“This year, we are giving away just a brand new floor,” she added. “Not remodeling a whole room, but we're doing a take-up and putting a new floor in. We're doing that one winner per the four counties.”

The counties included in the drawing are Lake, Mecosta, Osceola, and Newaygo counties.  

This year’s selection process is a bit different in that it will allow for people to nominate themselves if they own their own homes. Submissions can be made either through an online form, on paper, or by calling Gilbert’s Carpeting where a representative can fill out the form for an applicant. 

Parker said the voting will commence as soon as submissions end. 

“Once we get the nominations, then we have the public vote and they can go in and vote on our website once per day per county,” Parker said. “Businesses that have helped donate also get to vote for our finalists.”

Voting will take place June 1-27, with the winner being announced at the July 4 ceremony. 

'ABOUT THE VETERAN'S FAMILY'

Parker said feedback on past makeovers has been overwhelmingly positive. 

“We did quite a few stories and have gotten a lot of feedback,” Parker said. “We've had a lot of people come in and just asked about it. We've even had customers come in and want to work with us or shop with us because we do support the Veterans. We've done a lot more donating to Veteran associations. The biggest focus that we have when we announced the winner, we do a ceremony here and we give everybody a plaque.

“We don't want to just focus on the Veteran themselves,” she added. “We feel like it's really about the Veteran’s family. When we had them come in, we did like a little luncheon and we called their family up. We wanted to give them the honor and glory. It's a focus on the Veteran’s family as a whole because whether they met after they served or not, Veterans are affected for the rest of their life in some way.”

The initiative also has personal connections for Parker, whose own son is a member of the military. 

This year, Gilbert’s is excited to be able to give the gift of a new floor to more than one veteran.

Parker said hearing Veteran stories through the initiative was moving.

“Some of the wives I met had a couple of their babies when their husbands were serving,” Parker said. “It's definitely put a lot of things into perspective of the sacrifice that the families back at home make while their spouse is out serving.

"We were excited about this program this year because we changed it up so that we could offer it for more people to win which is nice. Honestly, once I meet them, shake their hands and hear their stories, and talk to them on the phone, I always hope they win. 

“We go to their house, and we do an estimate and kind of look at where they want to do it,” she added. “It was an honor to meet them, and I heard some different stories about different worlds, and it was wonderful.” 

Moving forward, Parker said the staff of Gilbert’s hopes to be able to continue with the prize drawings like the dream makeover initiative. 

She said they are still seeking businesses to donate to the project, and that being a silent partner is an option. 

“With the businesses that help sponsor this, we don't just take their money and say, ‘this is where it's going,’” Parker said. “Which for me is where I'd rather donate to something where I know it’s going to go in my own backyard. They also get to vote so they get to participate, and all these businesses that are involved with us get to have a say and they get to help decide who wins.”

The installation of the new floors for the chosen winners will happen over the summer. 

The top 10 Veterans chosen will be announced before the final ceremony where the finalists are announced. 

For more information on the contest and to nominate a Veteran, visit Gilbert’s Carpeting’s at gilbertscarpetsplus.com, call 231-796-2700 or stop by the story at 14150 Northland Drive, Big Rapids.