After a man loses wife he decides to paint the town, literally, to help him cope

November 1, 2017 9:29 am Last Updated: November 1, 2017 9:29 am

We all go through rough times in life, but it’s how we handle those times that truly define who we are because they offer us the best lessons. Jim Carter of Glouster, Ohio, couldn’t be a better example of that. He lost his wife in 2011 and did something quite remarkable to help him cope with his loss.

Jim needed to find a way to cope after his wife passed away.

With his wife gone, Jim’s life changed and he knew he had to do something positive to help him deal with his sadness. That’s when Jim came up with the idea that he was going to paint his town, quite literally.

With a population of around 2,000, Glouster used to be a thriving coal community, but that was a long time ago and everybody has seen the inevitable deterioration over the years.

Jim says he’s always wished somebody would fix it up.

“It’s pretty bad,“ Jim told CBS News in an interview. “The buildings have become dilapidated.”

When you want a job done…

After his wife died, he decided that he would do the job himself.

“I miss her and this gives me something from missing her more,” said Jim.

So, he started by painting a single fire hydrant, and then just down the road from there, he painted a guardrail. That was all it took for Jim to realize the power of paint.

People were grateful and it changed them.

Jim started painting local houses and businesses, for free. One after another, he just kept painting. Bonnie Shiflett, owner of Bonnie‘s Restaurant, was a recipient of Jim’s generosity.

She was so happy to see her newly painted restaurant that she cried. “It just did something to me,” she told CBS’s Steve Hartman.

Jim knew exactly what that “something” was because he was experiencing it for himself.

“It’s just amazing what a little bit of paint will do,” said Jim. “It changes people’s hearts.”

It grew into a painting movement!

Many of those changed hearts also felt compelled to help Jim in his endeavor. People were inspired.

“It’s amazing how this thing has spread,” Jim said.

From high school kids to senior citizens in the community, volunteers joined in, offering free labor and even free materials that were needed. For those who lacked painting skills, Jim found other ways for them to contribute. There was plenty of work to be done.

Now you can’t walk more than a couple of blocks in Glouster without seeing dozens of examples of how Jim turned sadness into joy. These homes and businesses, thanks to Jim, are monuments of hope that left others wanting to help. They painted, for free, more than 20 homes and businesses they didn’t even own.

“We’re getting something out of it because it makes us feel better about our town,” commented one volunteer.

“It’s just what a community ought to do,” said Jim.