Storytellers: Watching the paint dry

Volunteers engage in a friendly competition as they paint the homes of two elderly neighbors.

COMMERCE CITY - If you're going to paint a house for free, Laura Wells will certainly take it.

"I would never have been able to repaint it," Wells said.

That's leaving her neighbor Dixie Reilly with something more to talk about than her recovery from a stroke.

"I'm happy for her," Reilly said.

She's happy for her neighbor and longtime friend. The two senior citizens have been living side-by-side in Commerce City since 2000.

"I was having a little bit of problems meeting my house payment and I said I may have to move and she said don't you dare," Wells said. "That's how close we are."

If you're going to paint a house for free, why not paint two.

"We're neighbors. We're friends and I think it's great that we're both getting our house painted at the same time," Wells said.

A nonprofit called Brother Redevelopment is holding its 39th annual Paint-a-Thon. But, this is the first year that two groups of volunteers are having a friendly race.

"Mine will win," Reilly said while laughing.

Anthony Stephens is leading the team for Reilly's house.

"I think the trash talk is healthy cause, you know, Michael's not that fast of a painter," Stephens said.

Michael Cantrell leads the project for Wells' home.

"So, right now, we have the fast house. We're the good working house right now," Cantrell said.

Volunteers from Hammersmith Construction Services are donating their time and sweat to finish painting the exterior of both homes in a matter of hours.

"That's fine if they do, I don't mind, as long as they get it done, as long as they finish the job," Wells said.

As the day goes on, the winner clearly emerges.

"I'm gonna tell her mine looks better than hers," Reilly said.

Wells' house may have been finished first, but the real winners are the two neighbors, the two friends, the two who always help each other, getting a little help themselves.

"I think we already finished first," Reilly said. 

Brothers Redevelopment and Hammersmith do this because both organizations want to give back to the community especially when it comes to improving the living conditions of those who need it.

"They did a good job, didn't they?" Wells said.

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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