SHEFFIELD TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WJW) — Vandals covered a local home with graffiti that appears to have started with one message and then escalated to include racist words and imagery.
The small house on Liberty Avenue has been vacant on and off for several years after the homeowner, who is in her 90s nearly died and moved in with her daughter.
Maria Baez says, they’ve been emptying the home and had just listed it for sale when this happened.
“I never ever, not my mom’s home, not my mom’s home,” said Maria tearing up as she looked at the graffiti covering her childhood home. “My mother and father bought this house after they came from Puerto Rico, I was raised, don’t look at the color of the skin you look at the heart.”
The words Black Lives Matter were spray painted on one exterior wall.
It appears someone else retaliated and spray painted “White Lives Matter More,” multiple “KKK’s” and a hangman’s noose with a stick figure.
“My reaction was unbelievable, couldn’t believe somebody would do that,” said Chad Parsons, Sheffield Township Trustee.
He and fellow Trustee Timothy Mihalcik were notified by neighbors and immediately wanted to do something.
“I grew up here and lived here 72 years and we have always gotten along good, never had any problems like this ever,” said Mihalcik.
The men wanted to cover up the offensive graffiti as quickly as possible because there are a number of children who live in the neighborhood and just around the corner is an elementary school.
Parsons went to Sherwin Williams in Lorain, where he says they gave him a discount on house paint after seeing pictures of the damage and then he posted it on Facebook looking for volunteers.
Wednesday night a number of people came ready to help with their paint brushes and rollers; including the Trustees, Chad’s children, neighbors, several firefighters and Fire Chief Joe Bandagski.
“I’m very proud of Sheffield Township residents coming out here and chipping in,” said Chief Bandagski, “Get it covered up for everybody, everyone who lives here they don’t need to see that.”
Working together as a team, they had all of the graffiti covered up and the small house painted in about an hour.
Not only giving the family a chance to move forward with selling the property, but healing Maria’s broken heart.
When asked by Fox 8’s Suzanne Stratford what the help means to her family, Maria responded with tears in her eyes, “Words can not say it, words can not say it, this is a blessing …. all these volunteers Chad got them together which is a blessing.”
A report has been filed with the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office,
Anyone with information about the vandals can call the Detective Division at (440) 329-3742.
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