Group spends Saturday painting house for elderly woman

It's not everyday that an insurance customer is lucky enough to have their agent come over and paint their house, but one Craig resident experienced just that Saturday morning.

"I think it looks great," Barbara Nicholes said. "I just can't say thank you enough to all of the people that came over and helped out to get this done, it just looks terrific."

Nicholes was chosen as the recipient of this year's Paint-a-Thon volunteer effort, an annual, cooperative event organized by State Farm Insurance agent, Bob Johnson. Paint-a-Thon is a program where one house per year is selected to be painted for free, with the stipulations being that the recipient is either in financial need, disabled, or over the age of 65 the category in which Nicholes qualified.

Johnson started the project six years ago with financial assistance from State Farm, which originally paid for the paint and accessories. However, over the last couple years, the responsibility for completing the project has gradually shifted onto Johnson's shoulders.

"It's our way of giving back to the community," he said. "We always wanted to find a way to do something for the community, and this was a perfect way to see some good come out of it."

Nicholes was contacted by Moffat County Department of Social Services worker Karen Burley, who said Nicholes qualified for the project.

"She just called me up and told me that I was the one who was selected," Nicholes said. "I was so happy, I couldn't believe that they chose to do my house."

This year, Johnson received a large amount of help from a local Boy Scout.

Tyler Laib, who is working to earn his Eagle Scout badge, dedicated nearly 90 hours to the scraping, sanding, priming and painting of Nicholes' house. He spent the better part of the last three weeks working at the house in preparation for Saturday's painting party.

The project was completed with the help of other Boy Scouts, as well as family and friends.

Laib said this is one of the more rewarding projects that he has completed since beginning scouting as an 11 year old.

"I knew that it would be hard work, but it was also fun to do," he said. "I really enjoyed it, and feel as though it was a very worthwhile experience. I also knew that it wouldn't be too hard to get some other people to come out and help to paint."

The group also helped to reorganize Nicholes' wood pile, clean up trash and remove debris from her yard.

Laib and Johnson organized a group that included Brad Hurd, Harvey and Chris Preston, Randy Runyan, Richard Bailey, Cory Bergquist, Dee and Alex Johnson, Shea Carr, Cody Lyster and Don Laib.

"Bob just did a remarkable job in helping to organize this event, and he should really be thanked for his effort," Don Laib said. "He set it up well, and was able to get everything that we needed to complete the project. It was just an all-around, good effort in getting everyone together.

Though this year's project has been completed, that doesn't mean that Johnson is going to rest on his laurels.

"Oh, we'll probably do it again next year," he said. "This is really just too good of a project not to keep going. It takes some time to complete, but it is also a good way for people to come together in the true spirit of community to help one another out."

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