Habitat Paint Blitz project

As part of the two-day Habitat Paint Blitz project, volunteers painted shutters, sealed foundations, and stained ramps on a house on Homemont Street.

Fairview got a fresh coat of paint during Habitat for Humanity’s two-day Paint Blitz.

Three homeowners in the Fairview neighborhood watched and participated as volunteers took paintbrushes to their homes and landscaped their houses. 

Thanks to a $40,000 grant from Lowe’s Home Improvement International in partnership with Habitat International, this renovation was possible. This project is the first of many this grant has assisted.

On Wednesday, Oct. 17 a large group of volunteers attended the paint blitz kick-off celebration, which honored both the homeowners the project benefited. It also celebrated the beautification of a valuable community. Attendees included community members, Triangle Area Lowe’s Heroes/Volunteers, Corporate Lowe’s Leadership Community Leaders, Habitat Staff, Town and County Commissioners, and Hillsborough Mayor Tom Stevens.

“This is a beautiful occasion, and forgive me if I get kind of misty,” Fairview community member Dorothy Johnson began as she stood to speak.

Johnson is a passionate advocate for her community and a well-known pillar of growth in the neighborhood.

Moving to Fairview in 1968, she remembers when Rainey Avenue stopped at Torain Street. She also remembers when the space behind her home was in deep disrepair. 

She was one of the founding members of Fairview Community Watch, which has been in place for over 30 years. 

“I’ve seen a lot of changes,” she said. “We’ve worked really hard trying to improve this community, which I love. We got the beautiful park and then our beautiful garden. We’ve got all our friends and neighbors that just stick together like glue, it’s a loving neighborhood and I love this neighborhood.”

She thanked Lowe’s, Habitat, and all the volunteers that have helped beautify and restore homes and livelihoods in the neighborhood.

Earlier this spring, when Marisa Martini, Orange County Habitat Community Development Manager, saw the grant opportunity through Lowe’s International and Habitat International, she asked the neighborhood’s permission to apply for funding so they “could make some of the dreams for the neighborhood come true,” she said. 

In June, Orange County Habitat was awarded the grant for revilization work that has helped with projects at the neighborhood community garden, home repairs throughout the neighborhood and funded events such as the community’s signature event, Fairview Live, which was held in August.

“It’s just been remarkable,” Johnson said of the changes since she first arrived in the neighborhood. “We could not have done anything we’ve done without them. This is so touching to me. I just wanted to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for all that you do.”

Oscar Tapp, Martha Johnson, and Fannie Crisp, the individual recipients of the Paint blitz project, shared their gratitude to the volunteers at the event.

Johnson, who has lived in Fairview for over 30 years, expressed her thanks to the volunteers even though she could not help due to health reasons. 

She shared her story in which her husband passed away eight years ago, and she suffered a heart attack and stroke, making it nearly impossible for her to keep up maintenance on her home.

“So please forgive me, volunteers, because I couldn’t come out and do anything,” she said, tearfully, “but I am so grateful, so grateful, for all you’ve done.”

Lowe’s representative Chad Decasas shared the vision of the corporation: “Helping people love where they live.”

“I think there’s nothing that embodies that more than Lowe’s Heroes Program that we have,” he said. “It’s a chance for our employees to get out in the communities and to give back to you what you give us every single day, just fulfilling jobs and satisfying jobs to where we can provide for our families.”

The room was filled with Lowe’s employees donning mesh work vests, ready for another day of volunteer work. 

Ed Kuczynski, who acknowledged he was on the “implementation” side of the work at Habitat, spoke about the commonalities between all human experiences.

“We’re all human beings, we’re all in this together, and by partnering and doing things like we’ve done today, it’s makes a great difference,” he said. “When we come together and bring all of those experiences together and we can overcome pretty much anything. I’ve seen it.”

That saying is proven true, as Habitat will complete their 50th home build in Fairview since they began work in 2006. 

They are constructing this home through the Hands for Habitat project, a partnership between Orange High School and Habitat where students help build a home throughout the semester. It will be completed by spring 2019.