LAWTON, Okla._A painting crew in Lawton is trying to make a difference in a crime-riddled area, one brush stroke at a time.
The three men are painting the outsides of Apple Run and Deer Creek apartments in hopes that the fresh coat will inspire everyone in the area to improve their part of the neighborhood. It's an area that's unfortunately accustomed to criminal activity, including a shooting earlier in the day.
They believe if you have something that looks good, you take care of it. The owner of the painting crew is also giving away gift certificates to others in the community to help them get their house painted, but it doesn't stop there.
"Our motto is turning houses into homes," said Mark Culler, owner of Best Quality Professional Painting.
Culler has only been living in Lawton for 10 months. He's from Philadelphia, but he's down here for good and he wants to make a difference.
"To change people's lives because they see good artwork, they see better things in life and they change their mood. They want to do better in life for themselves and their family," said Culler.
It's not just the fresh coat of paint or gift certificates that will be making a difference in this community. Culler is partnering up with his brother and they are taking others under their wing.
"We teach the youth, teach the young adults and adults about a trade that you can do things with a structure of a house to make money. To take care of your family and you can be with your family," said Culler.
"There are more ways to make a living than selling drugs, running the street, doing things that will get you in trouble," said Pastor Lennie Orrell, Culler's brother.
This is an area that has seen its share of trouble. Two people were wounded by gunfire, near the apartments shortly before 1:00 a.m. the same day. Orrell knows the impact of shootings; he himself has been shot multiple times and that led to the loss of one of his legs.
"I know the impact it causes on families, friends in the community and you as a person. And to actually work in an area around that you just stay prayed up, and hopefully everyone else understand you don't have to live like that," said Pastor Orrell.