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Hundreds repaint older man's home after teens make hurtful comments

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 8/11/2015 Mary Bowerman

Josh Cyganik and other good samaritans painted the home of an elderly neighbor. Photo of house shown before painting on Josh Cyganik and other good samaritans painted the home of an elderly neighbory. Photo of the house before painting from Josh Cyganik's Facebook page. © Josh Cyganik via Facebook Josh Cyganik and other good samaritans painted the home of an elderly neighbor. Photo of house shown before painting on Josh Cyganik and other good samaritans painted the home of an elderly neighbory. Photo of the house before painting from Josh Cyganik's Facebook page.

After hearing two teenagers mock the state of an elderly man's home, Josh Cyganik, an Oregon railroad worker, decided to take action.

For the past four years, Cyganik has started each morning the same way. He leaves his home in Pendleton, Ore., and waves to his neighbor, 75-year-old Leonard Bullock, who often sits on the front porch of his home.

In early July, Cyganik overheard two teenagers say the home should be "burned to the ground" as they walked by Bullock's house. Unfortunately, Bullock could hear the teens. 

"I saw the look on Leonard's face. I could tell the comment bothered him," Cyganik said in an interview posted on his employer Union Pacific Railroad's website.

Cyganik said he couldn't stop thinking about Bullock and decided to do something. He asked Bullock if he would like to have his house painted.

"He was ecstatic," Cyganik said.

In need of a few extra hands to help paint the home, Cyganik asked for help via Facebook.

The post was shared over 6,000 times and on July 18, hundreds of volunteers were waiting to help Cyganik at Bullock's house. He said the good will didn't stop with a new paint job. Volunteers purchased outdoor furniture. Construction of a new porch is also currently underway.

Josh Cyganik and other good samaritans painted the home of an elderly neighbor. Photo of house shown before painting on Josh Cyganik and other good samaritans painted the home of an elderly neighbory. Photo of the house after painting from Josh Cyganik's Facebook page. © Josh Cyganik via Facebook Josh Cyganik and other good samaritans painted the home of an elderly neighbor. Photo of house shown before painting on Josh Cyganik and other good samaritans painted the home of an elderly neighbory. Photo of the house after painting from Josh Cyganik's Facebook page.

The house that once had paint peeling from the boards is now a warm beige color.

"Yeah, it was a random act of kindness, but to me it's more about respect," Cyganik said in the Union Pacific post. "I was raised to respect the people who came before you, to help others out who don't have much. Leonard can now sit on his front porch for the rest of his years while feeling good about his home."

Follow @MaryBowerman on Twitter.

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