First, the Chamber of Commerce in Salina, Kansas, where Cookson lives, heard of the unfinished project and offered to find help for the soldier. The Military Affairs Council at the Chamber contacted Mike Parker, the instructor of the Diesel Technology Program at the local technical college, to see if any students wanted to help out.
And it turned out that they every single one did. All 40 college students showed up to finish painting Cookson's home.
"We're just trying to come out here and help somebody in the community that needs help," Parker told KAKE.
The entire community came together to paint the house. Local businesses also donated the paint and supplies for the project.
"Not a lot of us college students got a lot of money, but we do have a lot of time," student Austin Workman stated. "We got young men and women out there giving up their freedom and their time to take care of our rights... so this is our way of giving back," Workman said.
The students normally spend their time learning to repair diesel engines. Community service helps them earn other important abilities.
"We want them to have professional skills, soft skills, time management skills, but also to become contributing members of society in community engagement ways," said Stephani Johns-Hines, Vice President of Instruction for the college.
It's a heartwarming story of a community coming together. The town of Salina exhibited a kindness that we can all learn from.