ALPENA - A local Alpena woman was astonished by the kindness she received from home town representatives of PepsiCo and Sherwin-Williams. Kathy Elliott has been living in her home on State Ave. for 35 years and couldn't keep up with the outside maintenance, so when Janice Winters, Unit Sales Manager of PepsiCo and Tallie TerLaan, manager of Sherwin-Williams, approached Elliott about painting her house as part of a community outreach project, she was overwhelmed with emotional gratitude.
"It was painted maybe 20 years ago," Elliott said. "I am so blessed, I can't believe it. I've been praying to find a way to get it done and didn't have the money to do it. Its just such a blessing."
The house was originally built in 1868 and has been added onto and changed since her late husband, Arnie, bought it in 1976.
Employees of PepsiCo and Sherwin-Williams organized a community outreach project by giving an 1860’s farm house a facelift with new paint on the entire exterior.
Janice Winters, homeowner Kathy Elliott, Bob Siegrist, Barb MacArthur, Don Lavigne, and Tallie TerLaan worked on Elliott’s house Tuesday and Wednesday, while CJ Wise and Mark Balko used a sprayer and lift to paint the second level and high peaks on her home and re-caulk the windows.
"I had two children and he had three, so we raised five children in this house," Elliott said. "You just can't imagine what this means to me. It's just a blessing to get this painted. I never thought anybody would ever take on this monster of a house."
PepsiCo bought the supplies needed to paint the house and Sherwin-Williams donated the paint, which is a Duration Exterior and has an extremely low level of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and is extremely environmentally friendly.
"We get to use one of the top of the line products we have," TerLaan said. "We get training, and we get to give back to the community. Kathy is such a great woman and has been so grateful to all of us involved with painting the house. This is such a neat home, and we wanted to bring some of the majesty back to it. Now it will be noticed for all the right reasons."
Elliott worked with TerLaan to choose the perfect fit from a gamut of available color options for her home. She chose the color named Amazing Gray for the large portions of the outside slate, a soft white for around the windows and railings, and her favorite color, blue, for the front door.
"It's going to be so nice to pull in and look at my house," Elliott said. "It is just beautiful and I can't thank everyone enough. You just can't imagine what this means to me. It's going to look like a new house."
Employees of PepsiCo and Sherwin-Williams worked together to paint the house from top to bottom using brushes, rollers, and spraying the larger surfaces with the help of ladders and a lift.
Bob Siegrist, field technical product manager of Sherwin-Williams came to assist with the project and praised the PepsiCo team and the Sherwin-Williams crew working on the house for Elliot.
"These projects are done on a national effort, but it's driven on a local level," Siegrist said. "Everyone here is fantastic. They want to give and do things to give back to the community. The community gives a lot to us, and it's always a good feeling when we can give back."
Elliott said she has had a wonderful time with all of the people helping to paint her house.
"I love them all," she said. "I don't think they knew what they were getting into, but they are a great bunch and have become part of my family. I can't get over the difference they've made."
PepsiCo unit sales manager Janice Winters and local sales manager Mark Balko came up with the idea to paint Elliott's house as part of Pepsi's community outreach projects, and reached out to Sherwin-Williams to work together and make it all happen.
"It's a corporate responsibility to give back to the community that gives so much to us," Balko said. "Our team is really passionate about the community. When you see the excitement and appreciation on the person's face, that's what makes it all worth it."
TerLaan agreed, adding that both companies hope this will set an example for others.
"We see a need and we like to fill it," she said. "We hope something like this will inspire people to reach out and help within the community. It makes the time and effort worth it just knowing you were a part of giving back. We also want to send a big thank you out to John Benson at JJ's for being so great to all of us after we'd been painting all day, his kindness and hospitality were greatly appreciated."
Nicole Grulke can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5687. Follow Nicole on Twitter @ng_alpenanews.