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2012 Paint-A-Thon: A touch of the blues





It was a blue morning on 12th Street, as volunteers set out with paintbrushes and rollers in hand to bring a new look to a bungalow and a new outlook to its owner.

Kathy Johnson, retired owner of the home, surveyed the project from a front yard bench with her granddaughter Courtney Adam, 8. Johnson wasn't entirely sure of the name of the shade of blue that the more than 30 Fort Hays State University Tigers in Service volunteers were applying to her home. She just knew it would stand out amongst the greens, grays and yellows in her neighborhood.

"I said, 'Let's get something different,' " she said of the color selection.

Johnson's home received its new look during Saturday's second annual Paint-A-Thon, organized by the Hays Rotary Club and Ellis County Ministerial Alliance.

The first crew of Tigers in Service volunteers were on-site before 8 a.m. Saturday, with replacement crews slated for later in the morning.

Approximately 100 volunteers were signed up for the day's project.

It was the first big undertaking this semester for Tigers in Service co-directors Arin Powers and Becca Kohl, both FHSU sophomores. Powers said they are looking forward to a busy October. Plans are under way for Tigers in Service to collaborate with the Global Leadership Project for a Swipe Out Hunger Event October 13 and to launch a campus food pantry.

Applying a white base coat to Johnson's detached garage, Amber Elrod, FHSU senior, worked among the army of students.

"This is my first time, so I really don't know what I'm doing," Elrod said, brushing a white square pattern on the garage door. "But I'm not too worried... just so I get more paint on the garage than myself, it will be a success."

Although she's worked with Tigers in Service during previous events, this was her first venture out into the neighborhoods of Hays to volunteer. She said she welcomed the opportunity to meet local folks and gain a sense of community.

Other volunteers said they had worked on many community projects. Tyler Weber, FHSU senior said he simply brought to the project his expertise gained through watching Bob Ross on TV.

The strong showing of volunteers was somewhat overwhelming to Sund.

"I'm really impressed with Fort Hays and their ability to organize this help," he said. "They were in communication with me the whole time trying to make sure that this worked out for them and us both.

"To have them all show up like this helps tremendously."

To Johnson, who is raising her granddaughter, the efforts were much appreciated.

"I just couldn't believe it," she said. "In this day and age, you think of all the bad things, but it's hard to remember all the good.

"There are good people in the world."

Johnson said she imagined the new paint job would last at least 10 years. She smiled at Courtney sitting next to her.

"Next time, Courtney can paint," Johnson said to Courtney. "You'll be 18 by then."