Fresh Paint Job Signals New Lease On Life For Jimmy Gray And His
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 12, 2004
CARLSVILLE, WISCONSIN--Jimmy Gray's house has fresh coat of new, white paint.
While that might not mean much to most people, it certainly is good news for the 37-year-old Gray, who this time last year was not certain he would have a house live in -- let alone paint.
In July of 2003, Door County Health officials condemned Gray's boyhood home as a health hazard because, among other things, it lacked running water and an adequate septic system. Some neighbors called the house an "eyesore" and urged the county to have it destroyed.
Some officials also suggested that Gray, who has mental retardation, should be institutionalized because he could not properly take care of his home.
This spring, Gray contacted the local media to tell his side of the story. Non-profit agencies, volunteers, anonymous donors -- even county staff -- responded immediately by offering to provide a new septic system, plumbing, paint, appliances, and bathroom fixtures, and to remove all of the trash that had accumulated over several years.
Thanks to those community members, Gray's house now has been cleaned up. It has new plumbing, and a septic system is underway.
Last week, private contractors John and Lisa Gibas spent two days painting the outside of Gray's home with donated paint.
"We just wanted to see Jimmy get his house fixed up. He's lived here all his life," John Gibas told the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
Gray said his late mother and his brothers had tried to paint the house blue in the mid-1980s. They only painted the bottom portion of the house, just as far as they could reach without a ladder.
"Maybe now people won't complain about the house," Gray said.
"Jimmy Gray's house gets a new look" (Green Bay Press-Gazette)
"Keeping His Own Home Is Closer To Reality For Jimmy Gray" (Inclusion Daily Express -- August 10, 2004)