For the most part, people tend to keep themselves to themselves these days, and the community spirit can seem to be lacking. This can be problematic for senior citizens who don’t have family members to lend them a hand when they need help.
Leonard Bullock, a 75-year-old Oregon man who spends most of his days sitting on the porch, didn’t have anyone to help him. His home had fallen into disrepair, and as badly as he wanted to improve its appearance, he wasn’t physically able to do so himself. It wasn’t until Josh Cyganik heard a nasty remark from a couple of teenagers that realized he should help.
“Look at this crappy house—they just need to burn it down,” Cyganik remembers the teens saying, within earshot of the homeowner. Bullock could only hang his head in embarrassment.
The incident didn’t sit well with Cyganik, who worked across the street from the old man’s house. He thought about yelling at the two teens, but instead decided to redirect his anger towards something positive.
“I saw him put his head down and it was clear he was upset,” Cyganik told TODAY.com.
“I thought about saying something to the boys, but sometimes anger is better left unsaid and I took a different course of action that ended up paying off more so than if I yelled at them.”
Cyganik decided that he’d be proactive in making sure Bullock didn’t get his feelings hurt again. He asked him if he would be interested in having his house painted. Bullock was choked up, fighting back tears he said he would love it, and Cyganik handled the rest.
Josh Cyganik knew he couldn’t paint an entire house all by himself. So he posted a photo of the house on Facebook, along with a message asking for volunteers to lend a hand.
Cyganik’s first stop was at local hardware store, Tum Lum Lumber. He spoke with the owner of the store, explained the situation to him, and asked if he’d be willing to donate paint to help fix up the man’s house. The owner agreed, and the efforts to paint Leonard Bullock’s house were officially underway.
Cyganik’s Facebook post was starting to get a lot of traffic, so he was cautiously optimistic that at least a few volunteers would show up.
He had no idea that over 100 people would show up throughout the day to lend a hand.
“I couldn’t believe the turnout,” Cyganik said. “I stopped counting at 95 because I couldn’t keep up, but it ended up being well over that.”
With so many helping hands, it took only one day to give Leonard Bullock’s house a major facelift. The results were stunning.
People drove from miles around to join in the efforts or to see the house. Leonard Bullock and his wife were touched by the kindness of strangers; they didn’t want the night to end. At 11 p.m., they were standing on their freshly painted front porch waving at cars as they drove past.
Cyganik says it fills him with pride to wave at Bullock every morning on his way to work. The old man has a much happier expression on his face, and is now safe from teenage bullies.
“I know that will probably be the last coat of paint he sees on the house, so for me to give him that and to be able to see him on the porch smiling with a beautiful backdrop made it all worth it,” Cyganik said.
It was indeed. Cyganik repainted Leonard’s home in 2015 and he enjoyed it right up until he passed away earlier this year.
“I am just glad I was able to know him! And we were able to do what we did to help him out. The community was amazing that day and everybody there was touched that day by him. And I know that he appreciated every minute of it!” Cyganik wrote on Facebook when he heard the news.
So don’t hesitate to help out a neighbor and make someone’s days a little brighter.