National News

A soldier's deployed before he can finish painting his house. So some students jump in

Posted October 26, 2017 1:37 p.m. EDT

— William Cookson had begun the time-consuming process of repainting his home in Salina, Kansas, when he was deployed to Kuwait.

So, a group of students from a nearby college jumped in.

"Not a lot of us college students got a lot of money, but we do have a lot of time," student Austin Workman told CNN affiliate KAKE. "So, this is the easiest way and the most thoughtful way of giving back."

The students attend Salina Area Technical College and are part of the diesel program there. All 40 of them volunteered to help.

By Wednesday, the students had power-washed the outside, cleaned out the gutters, scraped off the old paint and primed the wood on the turn-of-the-century house.

For Stephani Johns-Hines, the vice president of instruction at the technical college, the project and the students' eagerness to help directly reflects one of the goals of the school: engagement with their community.

"At a two-year college [the] transition is very quick, so when we have students that are role models like these students it's impactful in a very positive way," she told CNN.

While everyone worked, Cookson's wife Skyped him.

"She took the computer outside and he was able to see them working on the house," Johns-Hines said. "He was very thankful."