Published November 10, 2017
A simple act of kindness and a $3 hamburger snowballed into a coat of fresh paint for an Oklahoma veteran’s home.
Several months ago, Tulsa County Sheriff’s Deputy Tracy Lewis paid for a stranger’s meal at a fast food restaurant drive-through. He paid $3 for the cheeseburger and that small act spurred the recipient to pay the kindness forward.
Tom Barbour, who received the burger, informed the sheriff’s office of Lewis’ kindness and asked them for help to find a way he could do a kind act of his own. He wanted to use his company, CertaPro Painters, to paint someone’s home.
The sheriff’s office, after some deliberation, told Barbour of James Martin, a local Army veteran, who has wanted to paint his home for years, the Tulsa World reported.
According to Regalado, Martin served for 15 years in the Army and as a result of his service in the Middle East, has had at least six major surgeries. But it hasn’t stopped him from giving back to his community and fellow veterans.
Martin founded Wounded Veterans of Oklahoma, which teams up with veterans for hunting, fishing and camping trips so they can speak with others about their experiences in the military and help provide some relief.
“Veterans are truly this nation’s most valued treasure,” Regalado said. “James has earned the right to sit back and just enjoy life. Yet through Wounded Veterans of Oklahoma, he continues to sacrifice for the benefit of others who have served this country with honor and pride.”
On Thursday, Sheriff Vic Regalado surprised Martin with the gift. He had asked Martin to speak to his deputies about his organization -- while back at Martin's home Barbour was hard at work.
“This is a complete shock,” Martin told the Tulsa World. “It’s amazing how things work.”
Martin called the gift a “blessing.”
“Small acts of kindness for people who serve can be life changing,” he said. “One of the biggest struggles people face in the military and…first responders and police officers face is ‘do people really appreciate what we’re going through?’”
Barbour is expected to finish the painting job by Saturday – Veterans’ Day.