Volunteers showed they are not afraid of heights as they braved the ladders while painting the Clevelands’ home.  PAULA VAGTS/ SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE
Volunteers showed they are not afraid of heights as they braved the ladders while painting the Clevelands’ home. PAULA VAGTS/ SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE
Ken and Mary Cleveland received a hand up this past week as Spring Valley's first participants of Habitat for Humanity's A Brush with Kindness program.

The Spring Valley Area Ministerial Association (SVAMA) hosted this particular project.

Over 20 volunteers partook in the three-day project, which had them scraping and painting the Clevelands' home and garage.

"I was surprised at how many people came out; it worked out real well," recounted Ken.

Two years ago the couple, who have owned the home for 27 years, knew it was time to repaint the house again, but with the rising price of paint they knew it would be an expensive and time-consuming task.

As they tried to save, life kept getting in the way of their plans, as it usually does, though money was not the only issue for them. Ken suffered a serious leg injury in a motorcycle and now has a metal rod in his leg, which makes climbing a ladder impossible.

Then, while reading the Spring Valley Tribune one day, Ken read an article about the Brush with Kindness program and immediately got in contact with Habitat for Humanity's Fillmore County coordinator Megan Grebe.

They found the process to be simple and straightforward, saying they have and will continue to recommend the program.

Mary explained, "I think people think it's a handout, that the volunteers and the program just give you everything and that's not the case. You do pay for it, but they make it affordable for you, by letting you do payments instead of a lump sum."

The Brush with Kindness program was started in accordance with a grant from Valspar, Habitat's National Paint Partner, to assist homeowners impacted by age, disability or family circumstances who struggle to maintain the exterior of their home. The focus is mainly on neighborhood revitalization through minor exterior maintenance, landscaping and exterior painting projects.

The work began on Thursday, Sept. 19, and had the volunteers busy scraping off the old paint. By Friday the house and garage were ready for their first coat of paint. Saturday the second coat was applied and volunteers were able to finish early.

According to Grebe, the volunteer support was great and the community of Spring Valley really came together to make the project a success.

The Rev. Dennis Timmerman agreed saying the whole project was excellent and he is very hopeful for more in the future.

As for the Clevelands, who also helped with the work, if they ever had any doubts about applying for the program they are gone now!

"It's so nice to have the house done; it looks so good! It was done so quickly, they got here and worked their tail feathers off," exclaimed a very satisfied Mary.

If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering, receiving help or getting more information, contact Habitat for Humanity at (507) 459-4199 or check out its website, www.habitat.org.