OGDEN -- Nearly 40 Zions Bank employees and their families traded their suits, ties and dresses for overalls and paint brushes to help make Frank Sosa's home on 33rd Street more beautiful.
The home, built in 1958, hadn't been painted in more than 35 years, so the company decided to help out with its 21st annual Paint-a-Thon.
"We find someone in the community we feel deserves something nice and we go over and paint the outside of their home for them," said Dan Frischknecht, a bank employee and Paint-a-Thon team captain. "It's all volunteer. We work all day and then go out in the evening and volunteer at the home. We love it."
The company has been involved in the service project for 20 years and has donated more than $848,000 toward beautifying homes throughout the state. This week, more than 3,000 employees in Utah are helping to clean, scrape and paint 53 homes.
The project benefits low-income, elderly and disabled homeowners, said Andrea Standing, public relations officer for Zions Bank. Projects undertaken during the weeklong event were selected with the assistance of state housing agencies, community organizations and local churches.
"I am so grateful. It's such a blessing," said Sosa. "My parents built the home in 1958 and all 12 of us children lived here."
Sosa lived in the home with his mother for several years and took care of her until she died at age 98 last December.
"She always wanted her house painted," Sosa said. "She's going to be so happy. When she died, she willed the house to me. My only income is disability, so this helps so much."
The home was painted brown with beige trim. Zions Bank provided all of the paint and supplies, Frischknecht said.
Utah's senior citizen population is expected to increase by 165 percent between 2000 and 2030, according to the Utah State Division of Aging and Adult Services. Standing said the bank is helping elderly residents by fixing up their homes, which helps them to live independently while maintaining their health and dignity. The average annual income of those helped by the bank is approximately $17,000.
In addition to painting, the employees also provided yard clean-up, pruning, mowing, planting and minor repairs as needed.
"Out of 125 houses that needed help, they picked mine," said a tearful Sosa. "I feel so happy and blessed. It makes me feel so good that somebody cares and will go out of their way to help another person. I just can't say thank you enough."