Patsy and Eddie Skinner thought painting murals on the side of their auto service business would spruce up their south Augusta neighborhood.
They decided to paint colorful murals on each side of Eddie’s Auto Service on Old Savannah Road.
They live next door to Eddie’s Auto Service on Old Savannah Road and three years ago they painted a barn-themed mural on the side facing their home, with a donkey, cow and horse in their stalls. For Eddie’s birthday in October, Patsy hired a painter to create a mural of an old-fashioned garage, including a picture of her husband sitting in his 1955 Chevrolet truck, on another side of the auto repair shop.
“We’ve gotten more compliments on this. This area is really in a blithe stage. It’s got a lot of houses that should be condemned,” Patsy said. “We wanted to show people what you can do with a little enthusiasm and a little bit of paint.”
And they are not done. On the front of the building, she would like to paint a mural of an old-fashioned grocery store.
To improve their surroundings and control the neighborhood’s drug problem, the Skinners also purchased two homes across the street to resell to “responsible” residents.
Their contribution to the neighborhood doesn’t stop with paint. Each Wednesday for the past four years, the Skinners have led an outreach ministry at their home, providing meals for 150 people and clothing for those in need. People rely on the food and clothing, including families with children.
“Some of them just bring tears to your eyes. I wanted to spiff up the place a bit to make it a cheerful place to come to,” Patsy said. “I’ve seen a lot of the crime rate go down around here because they don’t have to get out and steal. They can find a place where somebody will try to help them.”
The Skinners have volunteers from their church, Southside Baptist Church, and Good Shepherd Baptist Church, and they spearhead efforts to collect donations, often coming out of their own pockets.
Yolanda Allen and Doris Mitchell, members of Good Shepherd Baptist Church, have volunteered for the past year.
“It definitely brightens up the neighborhood,” Allen said. “It kind of gives a facelift to this area.”
Mitchell said the murals provide a sense of homeliness and peacefulness.
“It’s a blessing everything they’re doing. This is the landmark that I give someone when I’m telling them how to get here,” said Terry Williams, who comes to the Skinners’ home for assistance.
Mary Nabritt also comes regularly to the Skinners’ home for assistance.
“I enjoy seeing it when I come down Savannah Road,” she said. “It’s a pretty sight to see.”