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'Outpouring' of neighbors pitch in to clean up woman's graffitied fence

The Christmas spirit is alive and well in Atlanta's West End neighborhood thanks to several people who pitched in to help a neighbor who had her newly-redone fence tagged with graffiti.

Photo: Provided by Larry Carter

The Christmas spirit is alive and well in Atlanta’s West End neighborhood thanks to several people who pitched in to help a neighbor who had her newly-redone fence tagged with graffiti.

According to Larry Carter, he had just come home from spending several days away from the neighborhood when he spotted the graffiti on his neighbor’s new fence, just days before Christmas.

“I noticed it immediately,” Carter told 11Alive. “I just thought, ‘Wow. This fence was just redone for a neighbor by a neighbor, and it’s been tagged.’”

Carter said he had been living in and around the West End neighborhood since about 2009 and hadn’t experienced something like this before.

“It was so disheartening,” he said. Carter told 11Alive he talks quite regularly with the woman, who he said is on a fixed income and couldn’t get out of the house to clean the fence on her own. So he posted about the incident in the community’s Facebook: “How can we help her? Are there services that remove it?”

Photo: Provided by Larry Carter

It didn’t take long for the offers of help to pour in. “People responded with, ‘I have money, I have paint, I have paint thinner, I have brushes, I have tools,’” Carter listed. “Everybody was wanting to pitch in. It was an outpouring.”

Carter said even Atlanta Councilman Andre Dickens offered to help buy supplies or lend equipment.

As for what prompted him to help, Carter said he had his mother, who had recently been ill herself, in mind and knew that he would want someone to help her if she was in a similar situation.

“It was just the right thing to do and I know our community is strong and we rally together,” he said.

Carter said they reported the incident to the Atlanta Police Department and are looking into whether any cameras might have captured anything. Meanwhile, neighbors spent parts of Monday afternoon scrubbing the graffiti from the side of the fence and have plans to stain it to make it weather proof.

Photo: Provided by Larry Carter

Carter said the willingness of neighbors to pitch in is a testament to the strength of the community.

“We really just want to reinforce the positive side of neighbors coming together,” he told 11Alive. “A lot of times you get a lot of negative news from southwest Atlanta and our community is definitely changing. I wish people would see that we are proactive, we are willing to take care of it and take care of each other.”