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Painting pair personifies Cedaredge's volunteer spirit

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Photo by Don Benjamin Dan Skelton (left) and Lynn Grotrian are professional painters and good friends who are donating their skills to help renovate the new Grand Mesa Arts and Events Center in downtown Cedaredge. They also volunteered to paint the interi

Anyone who has ever painted anything larger than a birdhouse knows what a chore it can be. The mixing, the masking, the drips, and the cleanup -- these are challenging tasks that can strain personal relations.

Or sometimes the work can create a lasting friendship.

Wearing caps, kneepads and old shoes, their shirts and Levis dappled with a stray splotch or two, Lynn Grotrian and Dan Skelton wear something more to work every day. They wear genuine and heartfelt smiles.

And it's a good thing that they enjoy their work because the two volunteers have been busy this year putting the finishing touches on two Cedaredge landmarks: the community's newly renovated animal shelter and the town's brand new arts center. The pair is donating their services and charging their usual fee for both jobs which, according to Dan is "a grin and a few kind words."

Or was it Lynn who said that?

You only have to be around this jovial pair for a few minutes to get them mixed up. They have been friends, coworkers, and skiing buddies for more than two decades so it's no surprise that they finish each other's sentences.

"People always ask, are you brothers?" Lynn says.

"And I don't even like him," adds Dan with a laugh.

In 1997 Lynn moved to Cedaredge from Florida. Dan came from California around that same time. They met locally and became instant buddies. Later, when Lynn started a painting business, he asked his new friend, "In case I get busy can you help me out?"

"And my wife said 'yes!'" Dan recalls.

Painting the inside of the new addition to the Surface Creek animal shelter didn't take long. But the interior of the new Grand Mesa Arts and Events Center has proven to be a bigger challenge. The 4,000-square-foot building was constructed in 1904 with nooks and crannies and few square angles.

"When we got into it we thought -- this is a big hunk of cheese," Dan recalls.

The arts center is on track to open in mid-June and the two volunteer painters hasten to add that there are a lot of other people working behind the scenes to make the new arts center a reality.

"Everyone is pitching in and this'll be a knockout place for our small town. When it's all done, the whole community will enjoy it," said Lynn.

Or was it Dan?

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Surface Creek
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