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Two homes chosen for annual Paint the Town DASH event

Aurelia Easter got a birthday surprise she never expected. 

On Saturday, Easter stood on her front porch surveying the scene of more than a dozen high school and middle school students painting a fresh coat on her 58-year-old home. 

When Easter turned 90-years-old last month, she got a call from a representative of DASH (Dependable, Affordable, Sustainable Housing) saying her house was chosen for the annual Paint the Town event. 

Easter was one of the two homes chosen out of a plethora of applicants to have their home worked on. 

“My home has seen children be born and the area around it completely change,” Easter said. “My husband worked for John Whitley who was the CEO of Whitley Construction Company. Mr. Whitley built and gave this house to us. I have always tried to keep it up since it was gifted to us.” 

Now in her late age and after her husband passed away a few years ago, Easter said it has been hard to maintain some things. 

“We were so thankful to have our own private place,” Easter said. “I have raised six children in this home. Now, looking outside today, I am so proud of what everybody is out here doing.”

Not only did Easter receive a new paint job on her house but volunteers also replaced any rotting wood and installed central heating and air into her home, which she never has had. 

“I am so honored,” Easter said. “I told them this is the best birthday present anyone could ever have.” 

Members of First Baptist Church, specifically in the youth ministry, split up in groups and shifts Saturday to paint and fix up the home. 

“Serving is our heartbeat,” said Next Generations Pastor Cody Turner. “We want to be about the community and look outward not just inward with our church.” 

Turner said a lot of the students have been looking for an opportunity to serve since the pandemic hit in March. 

“This was a tangible way to show love and show Mrs. Easter love,” Turner said. “We want to be community focused. This helps our students develop and show them life isn’t always the same where you go. There’s economic and cultural barriers in life and this I think helps them see that.” 

Easter said it was a breath of fresh air to see the youth students working together. 

“That is so fascinating,” Easter said. “It is hard to see that these days. They are so hard working and I am so thankful for all of them.”