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Paint South Dakota Helps Giving Man

June 25, 2012, 8:19 AM by Lindsey Branwall

Paint South Dakota Helps Giving Man

Paint South Dakota is a statewide program that matches volunteers with local communities to paint the home of someone who may not have the means to do so.

Over the next few weeks, houses in 22 communities will receive exterior paint thanks to a group of volunteers.

The Paint South Dakota program is awarded to those who don't have the physical or financial means to paint their homes themselves.  But it means more than just a coat of paint for one Lennox family.

Beyond the crossing of Second Avenue and Elm Street in Lennox, John and Yvonne Severson's home shines even brighter with the help of some local volunteers.

The volunteers came together from the Paint South Dakota project.  But they are also here to help a neighbor

"The city council in Lennox was approached by the state of South Dakota to find a family to help paint their home. The city council actually filled out the application and had this family in mind already," volunteer Laurie Wernke said.

Yvonne Severson's mother purchased the home on Second Avenue in the 70s.  And because she has lived in the house ever since she was a little girl, this project means so much more to her.

With the help of some local churches, there's also some new found hope for her husband, John.

In 2009 John was diagnosed with cancer. The family had done treatment and thought they were finished with the hardships. John's cancer came back in February and now he uses a wheelchair to get around.

"It's just kind of been unreal," Yvonne said.

While it may be hard for the family of six to put it into their own words, the cancer has changed their lives forever.

"He's always been the type that he wants to help other people but has always thought that he could do our things on our own and didn't want help," Severson said.

John has helped shaped the lives of students as a teacher for decades and lent a hand to many more even longer.

"He said, 'I just know I can't do it,' so he says he's happy for the help," Severson said.

Something John knows plenty about.

While Paint South Dakota helped organize the volunteers more people are lending a helping hand from Yvonne's church.  They plan on making the bathroom, bedroom and closet wheelchair accessible for John.

For more information on Paint South Dakota visit the South Dakota Housing Development Authority website.

You can also visit John's caring bridge website.

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