July 18, 2019

Home of World War II vet receives facelift - Daily Leader Extra : Local News

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Home of World War II vet receives facelift

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Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2019 3:47 pm

Volunteers came from as far away as Ohio when Arthur Peterson Post 136 of the American Legion painted the home of World War II veteran Walt George in Chester on Sunday.

"They improved the house in a lot of ways," the 97-year-old veteran said, as he carefully maneuvered his yard with a walker.

The long-distance volunteers were his daughter Sue Swan and her husband Lyle, himself a veteran, having served 21 years in the U.S. Air Force. In fact, all five of George's children had brushes in hand as his house received a much-needed facelift.

Bill bought the home place outside Chester, where Walt farmed until retiring. Jim lives in Chester. Kay and Barb, who was giving a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary a facelift, both live in Sioux Falls.

However, they were not the only volunteers at work. Dennis Kreul, with the Chester American Legion, was wielding a spray gun, meticulously covering the siding with slow, even sweeps. He was grateful for the opportunity to help with the project.

"This is where you get to thank Walt for letting you do it," he said with a wide smile.

The Chester American Legion post was participating for the second time in Paint South Dakota. The program is offered through the South Dakota Housing Development Authority and provides paint for volunteers to use on the homes of qualified participants. The application indicates a nominee must reside in a home in need of new paint and be physically or financially unable to paint the home on their own.

"Since Walt is 97, he certainly meets the criteria of `can't physically do it'," Post Commander Courtney VanZanten said.

She said the post engages in this project annually in order to have more visibility in the community. Most of the post's activities, such as visiting members who are hospitalized and remembering them on holidays, are more private in nature.

The American Legion is a veterans service organization that seeks to build patriotism through a variety of programs, including Boys State and American Legion Baseball.

VanZanten said George's house was chosen this year to show appreciation for all he has done over the years. He has been a member of the American Legion for 74 years.

During World War II, he served in the U.S. Air Force where he earned the rank of sergeant in the Signal Corps. He farmed after returning to Chester and moved into town in 1987.

Volunteers worked for three days to complete the project. They spent a day scraping the house and giving it a power wash and a second day priming it before painting it on Sunday. The white house was finished with gray trim.

VanZanten said the Chester post hopes to take on another project next year.

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