By Patrick J. Bradley
A local contractor’s dedication to the community now has 100,000 reasons to celebrate its efforts to brighten the lives of others.
More than a dozen volunteers with Project Hope (Helping Others Paint Exteriors) spent last Saturday in Wheatfield giving a Ward Road residence a fresh coat of paint to help a neighbor in need.
By the end of the day, the project’s efforts had provided a combined $100,000 of in-kind contributions to disabled war veterans, the elderly and people with cancer and other chronic illnesses.
“We’ve done this for 12 years in a row,” said Jesse Gooch, a Niagara County legislator and the owner of Painters Plus, a North Tonawanda company that provides specialty painting services to residential, industrial and business customers.
“We’ve been in business since 2001. I wanted to find a way to give back to the community and came up with Project HOPE,” Gooch said.
Painters Plus office manager Anna Bettis said Project Hope received a dozen applications this year, most of them generated through its social media presence.
Selected as beneficiaries were Susan Faso and her husband, Carmen, who have autoimmune disease that prevents them from the upkeep of their home. Autoimmune diseases, which can be disabling, occur when a person’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells.
The day’s Project HOPE participants included employees from Painters Plus and Two Guys Construction of Niagara, members of Sanborn-based Scouts BSA Troop 824 and North Tonawanda Mayor Austin Tylec. By the time they were finished, the entire two-story home sported a fresh coat of paint.
The application for the Fasos was submitted by Heidi Schuster, who lives next door.
“I’m so thankful for this,” Schuster said. “They are great neighbors.”