painting the town
Jim Cotter — painting

Dear DMC,

CBS Sunday Morning yesterday had an interesting segment about a man who set out to paint the town, and is getting the job done.

Before I describe the show, however, I wish to point a key thing it lacked. There was nothing said about whether any dull men are there watching the paint dry. I expect there were. It would be great if they emailed us about their experiences in this regard.

Jim Cotter, who lost his wife last year, set out to paint the town.

The town is Glouster, Ohio. Population 2,000.

Glouster was once a thriving coal community, For years, however it’s been peeling. And has become unappealing. Cotter says he’s always wished someone would fix it up, and so after his wife died, he decided to be that someone.

“I can do something about the town. We’ll paint it,” he explained. “The whole town. It’s just what a community ought to do.”

He started with a fire hydrant, moved down the road to the guardrail and then contented painting house after house, business after business — all for free.

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

And it inspired them to join in. Volunteers have been coming out of the woodwork to paint the woodwork and help Cotter reach his goal. “It’s just gone like topsy.”

Today, you can’t walk more than a couple blocks in Glouster without finding someone painting something.

Even the high school kids have been Tom Sawyer-ed into helping.

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

Bonny Shifflet, who owns the newly-painted Bonnie’s Restaurant, cried when she saw her business. “I tell you, it did something to me,” she said.

So far they have painted more than 20 buildings.

Donations — checks payable to Glouster Volunteers — can be mailed to
Glouster Volunteers
,c/o Jody Moore, 
134 Allen Road
, Glouster, OH 45732

Best regards,

Doug Dreyer
Washington DC