Paint The Town™ Puts the ‘Unity’ in Community

NeighborWorks® Boise’s Paint The Town™ helps put the ‘unity’ in our community. Each June for the past 35 years, this event has brought veterans, immigrants, life-time residents, adults and youth in the Boise Valley together to revitalize the homes of our community’s low-income senior and disabled homeowners. This year was no exception, as 41 teams of volunteers painted and repaired the homes of 39 deserving recipients, including Gerda, a German immigrant from the WWII era, and Kent, a U.S. military veteran.

Gerda, an 85-year old widow who is legally blind and had a heart attack two and a half years ago, is not one to let adversity hold her back or become idle. After leaving Germany for America during WWII at the age of 19, she kept herself busy over the years working jobs in customer service, taking care of Alzheimer’s patients, and even repairing computer parts for Hewlett Packard.

“I was the best [parts repair specialist] they had!” Gerda stated confidently.

This self-sufficiency and pride in her work has carried over to this day. Even though Macular Degeneration has taken most of her sight and she has to use a walker to get around, Gerda still mops her kitchen floor by herself.

While she takes pride in keeping the interior of her home clean, her failing eye-sight prevented her from noticing that the exterior needed a bit of work too. Several months ago, Gerda received a letter from her homeowners association, letting her know that it was time to paint her home – the place where she has lived for 23 years, since it was first built. Receiving this notice prompted her to apply to Paint The Town™.

A team from Zions Bank – headed by captains, Heath Gamboa and Mike Broska – was selected to paint Gerda’s house.

“They were the most kind, extraordinary and beautiful human beings I’ve ever met,” she said with sincerity. “Heath brought three girls, the youngest was 5 years old, and they planted flowers. They were big helpers!”
The team went above and beyond their painting duties as they purchased items and made the following repairs:
• Repairing/replacing over 50’ of fence
• Repairing/replacing 2 gate latches
• Power washing concrete driveway and sidewalks
• Removing brush, debris and demolishing an entire rotted tree
• Spreading new soil and mulch
• Planting new flowers, shrubs and grass
• Installing new address numbers and a garden hose caddy
• Placing a new welcome mat at the front entrance

Gerda beamed with pride and gratitude at the results. “The team touched my heart. My house is beautiful and I’m thankful that I got to meet new people who were so caring.”

Fellow 2017 Paint The Town™ recipient, Kent was equally as appreciative for the work that was done on his home, in his own reserved way.

Kent, a U.S. Veteran and Boise native who has lived in his home for 11 years, describes Paint The Town™ as “a real cool, fun experience.”

Now retired, Kent spent his career as a salesman in the Boise area – working 25 years in the insurance industry, followed by a decade as a manager of a spa center.

“I can remember when Boise had about 25,000 people, and now look how much it’s grown!” The 70-year old stated.

Kent stayed physically active his whole life until two years ago, when a knee injury left him incapable of doing any exterior maintenance on his home.

Recently, he noticed that his home needed some paint, and a friend in the industry told him that he would have to redo the entire siding if he did not get it painted within the next year or two.

Kent was already familiar with NeighborWorks® Boise’s services since he is a Rake Up Boise™ recipient, plus over the past several years, he noticed that Paint The Town™ had painted several homes within his neighborhood.

The Orkin Team was assigned to paint his home, and he described them as “so nice and pleasant.”

The team power washed and painted his home, and even took down a gutter that had created an ice dam in the winter.

Kent was the first recipient to send in feedback this year with an email stating, “I cannot tell you how pleased I am with the job that the Orkin Team did on my house. They were nothing but fantastic!!! They had a large team and were very kind and friendly and were only out to please me, and they did that. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would gladly give them a 10++++++++.”

While Gerda, Kent and the rest of this year’s recipients’ backgrounds and personalities varied widely, they all shared a deep appreciation toward their Paint The Town™ teams for restoring their pride of homeownership and helping them maintain their independence.

Maintaining the ‘Unity’ in Community
For three and a half decades, Paint The Town™ has not only revitalized over 3,300 homes in our community, but it has given our community members a chance to interact, befriend, inspire, and restore dignity to each other. Through this event, Boise Valley residents put their ethnicity, background, gender, religion and age differences aside to simply assist neighbors like Gerda and Kent. In our rapidly growing valley, this unity fortifies our sense of community by allowing us to remember what really matters – helping each other.

Thank you to all of our volunteers, sponsors, and donors who helped make this year’s Paint The Town™ a success! 2017 Paint The Town™ Impact Report coming soon!

Rake Up Boise™ - Another Opportunity for Unity
NeighborWorks® Boise’s fall community revitalization event, Rake Up Boise™ is right around the corner – giving our residents another opportunity to build unity.

On November 11th, thousands of Boise Valley residents will come together to rake and winterize the yards of our community’s senior and disabled homeowners. It’s time to start recruiting your co-workers, civic club members, family or friends to join us for one of the Pacific Northwest’s largest community volunteer events. Check out rakeupboise.org for registration dates and more.

For information about NeighborWorks® Boise’s 12 affordable housing programs and services, visit www.nwboise.org or call 208-343-4065