Army veteran paints Henrico boy’s new room for free after it reminds him of the hospital

Army veteran paints Henrico boy’s new room for free after it reminds him of the hospital

HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - A Sandston family recently moved into a new home - a healthy space for their growing family - but it was missing something. That’s when a local painter stepped in to make the place really feel like home.

Kimberly Hassmer and her family moved into their new home about five weeks ago

The Hassmer kids, Wesley, Blake and Molly, all have strong opinions and colorful personalities - especially Blake, who wasn’t a fan of the white walls.

“Oh, it was very boring. I wish that it would be colorful - have a little pizzazz,” Blake said.

According to his mother, it reminded him of a place he sees all too often.

“Blake is a frequent flier at Children’s Hospital. He has 12-14 ongoing diagnoses with no overarching cause. Nobody can quite figure out what the cause is.”

This little guy has chronic kidney disease, paralysis of the stomach, has a feeding tube, wears a continuous glucose monitor and is getting ready for his 14th surgery. The family keeps a calendar dedicated to his appointments.

“We’re there at least 10-15 times a month,” says Hassmer.

One day, Blake crawled into his mother’s arms and said, “I like our new house. It’s a lot of fun. I like my room, it’s big. I have room for all my toys but the walls are white and it feels like the hospital and I don’t like to be at the hospital.”

It was a crushing thing to hear for any mother. At the time, Blake’s parents didn’t have the money to pay it, so his mom sent a message to friends and family in a private Facebook group and asked for prayer.

A family friend took it upon themselves to contact a painter.

“His name is Jay, and he was the best painter in the whole world,” says Blake.

Army veteran and owner of “Tru Colors and More, LLC,” Jay Withrow heard about Blake’s story and painted their entire house for free.

Now, Blake loves his room.

“Oh, yeah! I love the blue - it’s a pretty shade. Blue is my most, most, most favorite color. It’s very calming and satisfying,” Blake said.

As for the bathrooms, Blake says, “That green is really good on the walls because you know, you got to get some color in some bathrooms.”

Blake wanted to thank Jay in person, but with COVID-19 and his doctor’s appointments - that wasn’t possible, but NBC12 made it work through Facetime.

Jay was then surprised with $300 in cash and a $50 gift card to Mexico Restaurant.

“I had another family I did work for and they told me about them. I grew up pretty rough and if it wasn’t for people helping us out on Christmas and Thanksgiving, it wouldn’t happen. So now that I am able to try and give back, I do.”

It really goes to show, a full and giving heart is worth more than any amount of green you could ever put in your pocket.

“That’s the reason I do what I do,” Jay said.

Now, Blake can rest easier at night, thanks to him.

“He can come home and feel bright and happy and cheerful, and not like a hospital is more than I can put into words, I’m just so grateful,” said Kimberly Hassmer.

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