Oasis beautifies Morrison County, one house at a time

Six homes painted during annual Oasis Paint A Thon

By Tina Snell, Staff Writer

On Saturday, Aug. 4, approximately 150 volunteers descended upon six homes in the Morrison County area (five in Little Falls and one in Flensburg) to give each one a face lift.

Diane Dockendorf was one of six homeowners in Morrison County who had her home painted by volunteers participating in the Oasis Paint A Thon.

In its 19th year, the Oasis Paint A Thon helps county homeowners by giving their homes a new coat of paint. Many are unable to do the job themselves. They may be elderly, disabled or cannot afford the paint. Applications are taken in the spring each year and the home is inspected for other work that needs to be done. If their income  is within the required limits, they get their home painted whatever color they choose.

Tim Poland, the director of Oasis Central Minnesota Inc., just finished his first year with the Paint A Thon.

Former director of Oasis Central Minnesota Inc., Carol Schmidt, went from coordinating the Paint A Thon for 18 years to actually doing some painting. She, along with about two dozen others, painted a two-story stucco home on the east side of Little Falls.

“I started as director about the time of the Paint A Thon last year, but I thought I would let Carol Schmidt finish the job before she retired,” he said. “This was my first attempt and I survived. I think it went well.”

Poland said he was just a little nervous before the event. He hadn’t seen much activity in prepping the homes with primer and small repair jobs.

“But then, all of a sudden, the teams were together, the supplies were picked up and the houses were prepped,” he said.

Diane Dockendorf, who lives on the west side of Little Falls, was one of the home-owners who had her home painted this year. She is currently unemployed and shares her home with her mother Rose, her son Eric, Eric’s wife Heather and son Adin.

Seven volunteers from Faith Lutheran Church and Insane Street Ministries, both in Little Falls, changed the color of her home from a deep red to a dark brown. They used some leftover stain from last year to do the trim.

The volunteers also painted the garage and a portion of Dockendorf’s fence.

Part of the Paint A Thon includes one to two weeks of prep work before the day of painting. Dockendorf also had some of her older windows replaced.

“I had this house built in 1987 when there was just one other home in this neighborhood,” Dockendorf said. “Since I lost my job with the Little Falls School District, it’s been hard to keep it all up.”

Dockendorf said the people who came to paint her home were very friendly and did an excellent job. She really likes the new look of her one-story home.

One of the volunteers was Poland’s son Connor, 15, and a sophomore at Swanville High School.

“This was awesome,” he said. “It was fun to help Diane with something she couldn’t do for herself. I will definitely be painting again next year.”

Poland wants to thank all the volunteers for their time and energy, Little Falls Hardware Hank and Ace Hardware, the Little Falls, Upsala and Swanville Lions, Coborn’s Superstore and Coborn’s Deli, Perkins, Pete and Joy’s Bakery and the Franciscan Sisters for their donations. He would also like to thank Stearns Electrict for their grant from Operation Roundup and to Valspar who donated 116 gallons of paint through this year’s grant process.