By Natalie Everett
Signal Staff Writer
661-259-1234 x518 x517
Posted: March 20, 2010 10:17 p.m.
POSTED March 21, 2010 4:55 a.m.
Dan Allan hasn’t had a shower in three years.
Four years ago, a blood vessel burst in Allan’s spine, causing irreversible paralysis from his chest down. He can’t fit his wheelchair into the bathroom of the Castaic home he shares with his wife Karen.
But on Saturday, a crew of about 12 people from eight different contractors donning “Paint It Forward” T-shirts descended on the Allans’ home, stripping, spackling and painting the home they’ve lived in for 25 years.
What started as a simple repainting job, and a request to replace six tiles in the linen closet, turned into more than $20,000 remodeling that would, by day’s end, allow Allan to shower in his own bathroom again.
“I can’t wait,” Allan said, smiling, as he sat in his chair in their backyard Saturday afternoon, overlooking the beach-themed pool he’s had no use for since the injury.
A. Allbright Painting started the annual “Paint It Forward” charity event. Since 2005, A. Allbright President Josh Abramson has donated tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of paint to families needing it.
This year, Abramson solicited the help of Just SCV’s Best, a group of home remodeling contractors.
Burke Pinto of Surfaces USA was the main contractor remodeling the Allans’ bathroom. The brightly lit, spacious bath now features beige stone tiles, a sliding door with a wide frame so Allan can access it easily and a much coveted mobile shower head.
“We redid the plumbing, we moved the vanity, we moved the toilet,” Pinto said, admiring his crew’s handiwork.
Karen Allan said all she asked for was repainting her son’s old bedroom, where her husband now has to sleep because it fits the medical equipment he needs.
“It was bears and balloons. It hadn’t been changed in 22 years,” Karen Allan said. These were the sorts of things her husband would take care of before his accident. Since his accident, the projects were low on the priority list, she said.
She credits her prayer box for winning the free services. Allan had found an advertisement for the event in a local magazine. She ripped it out and wrote a wish in gold ink, finishing with bold lettering: FAITH HOPE TRUST BELIEVE.
She folded the page into a small square and placed it in the gray, heart-shaped stone box and left it there. About a month later they got the call that they’d been chosen.
“It’s unbelievable. I’m in shock,” Dan Allan said.
Abramson said he looks forward to the event every year.
“Just having the ability to do it just by the talents you’ve been given, by the work of your hands, and the pleasure you get from giving… this is something we look forward to,” Abramson said.
Pinto said he was confined to a wheelchair for a year after a motorcycle accident more than a decade ago.
“It’s definitely a pleasure to do this,” he said.
Karen Allan said they were ready to enjoy their golden years when the injury struck. It was June 2006, and their son Chad had just left home for college.
Dan Allan spent decades working hard. He was a refrigeration engineer at NBC Universal. He volunteered around the community he grew up in, including installing an air conditioning system at his church. He coached youth basketball for years.
Then he was injured, and their lives changed forever.
“We were just always there for people, and now, people are there for us,” Karen said.
“My husband is my hero,” she continued. “He was always the first to say enjoy each day to the fullest, because you don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Allan said her husband had spent years taking care of her, and now she’ll spend the rest of their days taking care of him.
Companies that donated time and materials to the Allans’ remodeling were A. Allbright Painting Inc., Surfaces USA, Elite Flooring, Brodie Electric Inc., Anaya’s Window Coverings, Frady General Contracting Inc., Calderwood Construction & Plumbing Inc. and Preferred Glass & Windows Inc.