With all of the bad news that takes place in the world, it’s always good to hear some good news about neighbors showing love for one another. I’m talking about the word “love” used as a verb! And this story is a story of what it means to love others.
Josh Cyganik, a recently witnessed a couple of teens mocking an elderly man’s home, which was in desperate need of a fresh coat of paint. Obviously, it move Josh’s heart and he took to Facebook to recount the incident and seek volunteers to help repaint the house.
The home belonged to 75-year-old Leonard Bullock. According to UPRR:
Bullock is a retired forklift driver. He met his wife, Dorothy, at a church in Walla Walla, Washington. They married in 2000. Bullock retired in 1995, but even with his monthly stipend he and Dorothy didn’t have the funds to fix up their house.
“To my friends! So I was at work a couple weeks ago and I heard 2 teenage boys walked by this old man’s house. He sits on the porch all day long. They were on his side of the road and I heard them from where I was. They said loud enough for me to hear “look at this crappy house they just need to burn it down”! I looked at the old man sitting on the porch with his head down and it got me thinking. I went to Brian Christensen at Tum Lum lumber and asked him if he would be willing to donate paint to repaint his house to make it look better! And he agreed. So I’m asking if anyone that wants to help this Saturday to volunteer their time to help paint this gentleman’s house! I’m thinking 8 o’clock Saturday morning this weekend across from the UPRR yard in Pendleton on Goodwin Avenue!”
Cyganik told UPRR, “I saw the look on Leonard’s face. I could tell the comment bothered him. I don’t think any elderly person should have to endure what I heard from those two kids’ mouths. I kind of stewed about it for a couple days before I decided to do something.”
So, what happened? Well, first of all, the post was shared over 6,500 times. Second, at least 100 people showed up to help and offer support by way of bringing food and water to the volunteers. Here is the before and after results of what they accomplished on the following Saturday.
Cyganik’s friend Brian Christensen, manager of Tum-a-Lum lumber, donated the paint.
“Brian was more than happy to donate supplies. After we had it all figured out, I went and asked Leonard if it would be all right if we painted his house,” Cyganik said. “He was ecstatic.”
Cyganik took to Facebook after the job was finished and wrote, “Well we all made it through the day! Everything turned out awesome! I want to thank the people who donated everything for Leonards home not house! and all the people that showed up to help out!”
“It was just a good vibe! Everybody was happy and excited,” Cyganik said. “We received a lot of additional donations from people who didn’t come but wanted to help. People were dropping off food and drinks all day long. Starbucks even donated six gallons of water and iced tea.”
Cyganik admitted it was a random act of kindness, but said it was more about showing respect.
“I was raised to respect the people who came before you, to help others out who don’t have much,” he said. “Leonard can now sit on his front porch for the rest of his years while feeling good about his home.”
While many in the media have proclaimed him a hero, he says that he’s not that. “Anyone would have done the same thing. Everyone has it in their heart to do things like this.”
However, the fact is that many people passed by Bullock’s home every day and did nothing. It was Cyganik who made the attempt and all those who pitched in to help. To Mr. Bullock, I’m guessing that everyone who had a hand in repainting his house is a hero, and I would add, the title is well deserved.
After everything was done and all the paintbrushes were put away, Cyganik said that a buddy of his texted him the couple were sitting on their freshly painted front porch at 10 at night “grinning from ear to ear.”