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On The House - Oakdale Family Receives Home Improvement Services
Lancaster Painting employee Raul Lizarraga, Jr. paints in the corners of a room in the Walden and Berry home on March 23 as part of his companys Paint It Forward program, which honors people for their community service. - photo by COURTESY OF JENNIFER BEEDE

By “paying it forward” an Oakdale family has collected.

Oakdale residents Elizabeth Walden and her husband Neil Berry were the recent recipients of Lancaster Painting’s (of Turlock) “Paint It Forward” program. The interior of their home was repainted, plus some yard projects were done by the Lancaster Painting employees and their families – on the house.

“In 2010 we launched our program Paint It Forward – we ask the public to nominate a family or non-profit organization to receive up to $7,500 in donated work,” said Traci Talkington of Lancaster Painting. “We receive the nominations via mail or e-mail through our website. We then have our Project Leaders narrow the nominations down to three, and at our annual Christmas party our entire team votes on the nomination that they feel is most deserving.”

Walden expressed her happiness about being the Paint It Forward recipient and said that her family wouldn’t have been able to do it all themselves. She said that they were “going bold” with the paints. The couple’s children, Marylee, 12, and Nathaniel, 1, were also able to choose the colors for their rooms.

“This year the Waldens – the nomination was sent in by a teacher at one of the schools in Oakdale – were one of the three nominations that our team voted on at the Christmas party. Elizabeth donates hundreds of hours to the Oakdale schools and ‘she single handedly runs the after school drama program and puts on an annual play every year.’ This nomination won the hearts of our team,” Talkington said.

“Neil and I volunteer at Magnolia (Elementary School) for the majority of our community work, and Marylee focuses on donation drives. She established a ‘care bag’ project during the 2012 holiday season that generated several dozen bags for Oakdale’s homeless population, and each year for her birthday she requests that, in lieu of receiving gifts for herself, that her friends instead donate gifts for the kids at Guardian House. We’re very proud of her. Nathan’s major contribution is cuteness,” Walden added.

She also noted that a Lancaster employee came to the house on March 22 to repair damage in an area of drywall before they painted the next day. To kick off the day of painting, the Lancaster volunteers brought coffee and donuts to share that morning. The Walden-Berry household did not have to pay for any of the painting and improvement services.

“I’m so excited about this. I am so stoked,” Walden said. “It doesn’t even feel real yet. What an awesome gift… They are a phenomenal team and we were floored by the experience. They truly are wonderful people and we are so blessed to have been the recipient of Paint it Forward.”

Lancaster Painting wants to hear about people in the community who volunteer or who may be struggling due to medical or financial problems. They will accept nominations for next year’s Paint It Forward recipients beginning in August and they encourage businesses and community members to nominate an individual, family or non-profit organization in the community. Fill out the online nomination form at Click on “Services” and then on “Paint It Forward.”