August 7, 2018

A Slice of Life from Operation Watts Is Worth It

Hundreds of gallons of paint covering walls with colorful murals, tools of all kinds shuttling between busy arms, and coolers of donated water and stockpiles of sunscreen keeping volunteers protected in the waning summer sun were all part of a typical scene at this year’s weeklong Mass Deployment.

Called Operation Watts Is Worth It, this year’s Mass Deployment was a community service project of grand proportions, with over 100 veterans serving arm in arm for a week of nonstop service. Veterans along with community partners and sponsors transformed five different project sites across the Watts community in Los Angeles.

CarMax employee volunteer at Operation Watts is Worth It.

All throughout the commotion of each busy project day, our volunteers remained focused on the mission with the support of our trusted partners there serving alongside them.

Partners like CarMax, for the second year in a row, stepped up to support a Mass Deployment. As the 2018 Platinum Sponsor for Operation Watts Is Worth It, CarMax made this opportunity for community impact and connection among our veterans a reality.

Take a look at what this unique service experience was like and the work accomplished with the support of volunteers from local CarMax branches who showed up in force!

Mass Deployment Day 4: 99th Street Elementary School

By the penultimate day of volunteering, veteran volunteers were beginning to feel the weight of their previous three full days of activity.

So when we needed it most, CarMax employee volunteers came in to help out, bringing with them a resurgence of energy and vitality to the day. They helped us accomplish so much, and served alongside veteran volunteers with equal strength and passion.

CarMax employee volunteers were some of the hardest-working and enthusiastic volunteers we saw at Operation Watts is Worth It!

Matt Linderman, VP Infrastructure and Operations at CarMax and military veteran, kicked off our opening remarks with reverence and solidarity for our veteran volunteers. Matt and his fellow CarMax associates then dug in to help refurbish the elementary school. This day of service furthered the ongoing efforts by 99th Street Elementary to foster a connection with students and their families.

“I know you share the CarMax values of teamwork, integrity and respect,” he said. “And, like me, can’t wait to roll-up your sleeves and accomplish today’s mission.”

Transformed - Repurposed the old overgrown garden space into an functioning outdoor classroom, complete with a quiet reading corner and new garden beds.

Transformed – Repurposed the old overgrown garden space into an functioning outdoor classroom, complete with a quiet reading corner and new garden beds.

Connected - Gave the Parent Center a makeover with new storage and furniture to support family engagement.

Connected – Gave the Parent Center a makeover with new storage and furniture to support family engagement.

Revitalized - Redid outdoor play areas including painting the four square courts and updating the softball field to accommodate soccer and other field sports.

Revitalized – Redid outdoor play areas including painting the four square courts and updating the softball field to accommodate soccer and other field sports.

Mass Deployment Day 5: Florence Griffith Joyner Elementary School

CarMax's Matt Linderman joins The Mission Continues for another day of hard work

CarMax’s Matt Linderman joins The Mission Continues for another day of hard work

On the final day of service the energy was once again elevated, as veteran volunteers joined arms once again with CarMax employee volunteers for their last day of incredible impact. We bonded over collective sweat, exhaustion, and — most of all — feeling of accomplishment.

Knowing that the difference we made was greater than the sum of our individual efforts was gratifying and awe-inspiring.

This day of service helped provide an added boost to achieving the school’s academic goals. We aimed to elevate the emphasis on the arts while infusing energy through service to create positive and safe areas for students.

Griffith Joyner Elementary received from President Obama’s administration a Turnaround Arts Grant, which is part of a national public-private partnership that leverages the arts to help turn around the nation’s lowest performing schools.

CarMax VP Infrastructure and Operations Matt Linderman surprising Spencer Kympton, President of The Mission Continues with an additional $10,000 check from The CarMax Foundation.

The day began with Matt Linderman, returning for a second day of service and surprising The Mission Continues with an additional $10,000 check on behalf of The CarMax Foundation — a most welcome gift to further empower veterans and the communities they serve.

Revitalized - Created a blacktop soccer field with mobile goals, added new blacktop games, and painted vibrant murals throughout the schoolyard.

Revitalized – Created a blacktop soccer field with mobile goals, added new blacktop games, and painted vibrant murals throughout the schoolyard.

Inspired - Built three outdoor classrooms with mobile chalkboards and seating for outdoor learning.

Inspired – Built three outdoor classrooms with mobile chalkboards and seating for outdoor learning.

Beyond Mass Deployment

Since 2016, CarMax has been empowering veterans through The Mission Continues as they address pressing local issues and make meaningful social change.

“CarMax is committed to providing community support and career opportunities to our military and their families,” said Matt Linderman.


“We’re proud to renew and expand upon our valued partnership with CarMax,” said Spencer Kympton, president of The Mission Continues. “Together we have an opportunity to provide increased support for our nation’s veterans in their commitment to continued service and as leaders of community change.”

What’s next? In September 2018, CarMax will be recognized as the Silver Sponsor for The Mission Continues’ Platoon Leadership Summit in Houston. The summit is an opportunity for platoon leadership to learn new skills, contributing to their personal growth and ability to deliver maximum platoon impact.

We at The Mission Continues — from our staff to our volunteers — appreciate CarMax’s involvement in our work, value the partnership we’ve built together, and are excited for more collaboration in the years ahead.

Note: Some parts of this article have appeared previously in press release and webpage format.