Volunteers use paint brushes, rollers to thank fellow veteran
SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Expressing gratitude to a military veteran can take a variety of forms.
One group chose to do it with paint brushes and rollers.
"Well, you know, we're all women veterans; and we really wanted to paint the home of a veteran," Air Force veteran Sandy Franks said.
They are among more than 1,000 volunteers who came together this weekend to spruce up the homes of some elderly and/or disabled residents of Shreveport.
All told, more than 52 houses got fresh coats during this year's Paint Your Heart Out Shreveport.
The day of service gave members of one squad the opportunity to pay it forward to one of their own and leave their special touch.
"The military is a big part of your life, it changes your life;" said Franks, president of Women Veterans of the ArkLaTex.
"We don't just need to thank them on Veterans Day or remember them on Memorial Day, we need to do that all the time."
That's why it was Franks' mission Sunday to repaint Shreveport resident Vera Shivers' house.
"It means a lot because, you know, they have not only done so much here, but other places as well," Shivers said. "Even just serving our country."
Franks' efforts were backed by a squad of loyal military members.
"It's just nice to give something back, especially when we found out this was the home of a veteran," Airman Pete Cohen said.
Shivers' husband served in Vietnam.
Now he's in a nursing home, leaving her in charge of the house.
Selfless service runs in her blood.
"We should take the opportunity to help someone else along the way."
It might be their day off.
But expressing thanks to a veteran never goes on leave.
"I'm not a rich person, so I can't do a lot as far as money-wise," Airman Tammy Fussell said. But at least my service is another way I can help them out by doing things like that."
You don't have to paint a house to show gratitude to a veteran, the volunteers said.
A simple thank you makes a world of difference. And it's the least we can do to say thank you."
"We would've done this whether her husband was a veteran or not. But it's just like icing on the cake," said Airman Shelley Cohen, adding that you can't place a rank on giving back to those who served.
"As a military community, we're a family. Just because you're retired does not mean you are not part of that family. We still give back."
In the end, they might be dirty and they might be tired.
But their special task is worth saluting.
"If you know a veteran, thank them for their service," Franks said.
Counting this year's efforts, Paint Your Heart Out Shreveport now has given a fresh coat to more than 1,600 houses over the years.
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