Nearly 4,200 help paint, repair homes
Arizona Republic
Oct. 26, 2008


Joe H. Kellwood still remembers almost every detail of his days as a Navajo code talker during World War II, a job that historians say was instrumental in the fight against a Japanese military that easily deciphered English Morse code.

The 87-year-old joined the U.S. Marine Corp in 1942 and served until the end of the war in 1945.

More than 60 years later, Kellwood is on the receiving end of hard work as volunteers built a porch in his yard, reshingled his roof and painted the outside of his house in Phoenix.

The project was part of Saturday's Wells Fargo Rock & Roll Paint-A-Thon, an event organized by Rebuilding Together Valley of the Sun.

Almost 4,200 volunteers helped paint 153 houses in Arizona, said community outreach coordinator Jason Cummings.

Rebuilding Together, the largest volunteer house rehabilitation organization in the country, selects disabled or elderly homeowners who are low-income and can't do the necessary work themselves.

About 120 companies and organizations contributed to the event, with Wells Fargo as its main sponsor.

"It's more than just painting a house," Cummings, also an AmeriCorps member, said. "It's about giving back and making the home owner feel better about their house again."

For Kellwood, who grew up on a reservation in Arizona, the extensive work on his house came at a much-needed time.

After his wife died in 2004, he said, he has struggled to take care of the house, near Seventh Street and Northern Avenue.

He said the repairs have been like a dream come true for him.

"I appreciate every bit of help that they give me," he said.