Feel Good

College Students Finish Painting House of Deployed Soldier

Not long ago, William Cookson of the Kansas Army National Guard began painting his house in Salina, Kansas. Unfortunately, he was called up to active duty in Kuwait before he could finish. But thanks to a few dozen college students, the job will be done when he gets home.

Roughly 40 students from the Diesel Technology Program at nearby Salina Area Technical College volunteered their time to scrape, prime, and paint Cookson’s house while he’s away.

Jo Ann McClure of the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce found out about the unfinished paint job on Cookson’s house and contacted instructors at the school, recommending that students at the school finish the project.

The students are not painting professionals, but they were willing to learn and willing to give their time to help Cookson.

“Not a lot of us college students got a lot of money, but we do have a lot of time,” said student Austin Workman. “This is the easiest way and the most thoughtful way of giving back.”


With the students providing the labor, several local businesses did their part by donating supplies and equipment, including a power-washer, man-lift, and, of course, plenty of paint.

Every student in the diesel technology program chose to participate. Mike Parker, one of the department’s instructors, said the project is in line with what the program is designed to teach.

“Part of the program is community service and team building,” said Parker. “We just felt like this was a really good project to jump in and give them a hand.”

Of course, the best part is that Cookson will be able to check off “painting the house” from his to-do list when he gets back from serving overseas.

“He was doing the project, got orders and departed,” said McClure. “He gets to come back to a newly painted home.”