Pauls Valley Democrat
Adding a touch of beauty while getting outside and doing something they love seems to be the calling card these days of a Pauls Valley couple who are literally changing the look of the world around them.
Thanks to the work of Duane and Mona Brakefield the look around the residential complex for senior citizens where they live in PV has changed dramatically for the better in recent years.
Because of their volunteer work in and around the local Donihoo-Colley Complex the couple has been given an honor reserved only for those offering a little beauty to the Pauls Valley community.
The Brakefields are the recent recipients of a certificate of appreciation from the Pauls Valley Beautification Commission led by the every vigilant Lou Hall.
It was Hall and fellow commission member Shirl Montgomery who showed up at the local complex to give both Duane and Mona their surprise honor.
Since moving into the complex around five years ago the couple has been very active in changing the looks of the grounds outside, as well touches of their own on the inside.
A walk around the grounds makes it clear why the couple got the honor as a whole series of small oasis’ filled with plants and flowers can be seen with many placed to complement things like drainage areas around the complex.
For the Brakefields it’s just what they like to do. Not long after moving in they expressed an interest in getting out there and doing some work on their own to spruce things up.
“We enjoy it,” Mona said. “It’s just therapy for both of us.
“Almost every day we’re outside. If we’re not working on the flowers or picking out weeds we’re walking around checking it out,” she said.
“We love being here and love being able to do this. When I go home at night I feel like I’ve done something.”
For Duane it all started when he got the OK to clean up some overgrown evergreen shrubs in desperate need of some love.
He cleaned out the dead portions of the plants allowing the rest to return to a healthy glow, along with some much needed growth underneath.
It just took off from there, Duane said.
“We have a garden there,” he said, while pointing to the back side of the residential complex.
“We ate our first tomato from out there last week. We even have some melons coming in.”
The couple has served as a kind unofficial landscaping team as they plant and care for flowers both inside and outside of the complex, pick weeds out of the flower beds on a regular basis and inside they maintain a fountain garden.
It was Hall who noticed the dramatic changes to the Donihoo-Colley grounds, especially since her daily walks with her dog take them right past the complex.
Early on she noticed a man out there working all the time. Thinking it was an employee she later found out it was Duane.
Hall then found out the couple was volunteering their time to basically work to landscape and maintain much of the grounds.
“This is a labor of love for them,” Hall said.
“I just thought they deserved to be recognized for what they do.”
The changes at the complex over time was also noticed by Montgomery.
“There’s rarely a time when I drive by I don’t see one or both of them out there,” Montgomery said.