Volunteers helped local low-income homeowners with some spring renovation projects Saturday.
How many Lawrence Memorial Hospital employees does it take to paint a house?
About 32, if you need the job done really fast.
Employees of 10 different businesses and organizations spent Saturday morning painting, mowing, hammering and sprucing up Lawrence homes as part of the Corporate Volunteer Council of Douglas County's annual home improvement project.
The LMH employees painted Nebe and Betty Smart's two-story home in North Lawrence in about two hours.
"It sure looks a lot better than it did before," said Nebe Smart, who installed the siding about 20 years ago with the help of his son. LMH employees and family members painted the siding beige and the trim brown before having a picnic lunch on blankets on the Smarts' front lawn.
"We had some good teamwork," said Janice Early-Weas, director of community relations at LMH.
Several blocks to the south, off-duty firefighters and other personnel with the Lawrence-Douglas County Fire & Medical department trimmed trees, mowed, made a flower bed, installed tile and fixed a porch support beam at Alice Fowler's house in North Lawrence.
Fowler, now retired, was the Lawrence Fire Department's secretary for 20 years.
"I've got a bunch of folks that love me," Fowler said while the group worked nearby. "... I think it's wonderful. That's the thing about the firefighters and the medical people. They are so multitalented; everyone has a specialty here."
Robert Hardy, a firefighter, said about 20 men and women from all ranks joined the project Saturday morning.
"We're happy to do this," Hardy said. "Usually when we mobilize on a project like this, it's fairly easy to get people involved."
In the 2100 block of Learnard, Hallmark Cards Inc. employees painted a house and garage and fixed outside water spigots. Down the street, another Hallmark group painted trim.
"I figured we'd be raking leaves," said 16-year-old Free State High School sophomore Carole Davis, who was recruited by her father, Al Davis, who was in turn recruited by his wife, Hallmark employee Sandy Davis.
Carole Davis said the task was more enjoyable than yard work.
"I just grabbed a paintbrush and started painting," she said.
A total of 14 houses are involved in this year's program.
Supplies are purchased through a $30,000 Community Development Block Grant disbursed by the city of Lawrence, said Lynn Goodell, the city's director of housing and neighborhood development. The Corporate Volunteer Council project, administered by the Roger Hill Volunteer Center, provides major and minor home repair and restoration for homes owned by low-income people.
Other businesses and organizations participating in the program this year are Capitol Federal Savings, Local 2279 of the Carpenters union, E and E Display Group, Payless Cashways, Bud Jennings Carpet One, Youth United Way and Local 20 of the Roofers union.
-- Chris Koger's phone message number is 832-7126. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.