Volunteer handyman receives Silent Servant Award

Leonard Bullock holds a tape dispenser for Josh Cyganik, who organized a work party at Bullock's home in August 2015. More than 100 people spent a day painting and doing chores around the yard.

Ten months after Josh Cyganik’s good Samaritan act went viral, he continues to receive recognition.

Cyganik will soon receive the Silent Servant Award for his help fixing the once-ramshackle home of Leonard and Dorothy Bullock in Pendleton last August.

The award is given by the Peter R. Marsh Foundation, a nonprofit organization located in Vancouver, Washington. The organization aims to “identify people who elect to serve others on their own initiative,” according to founder Peter Marsh.

Pendleton City Council and Mike Thorne will present the award to Cyganik July 19.

Cyganik was cleaning his truck at the Union Pacific rail yard across from the Bullocks’ residence last summer when he saw two kids walking by. While Leonard sat on his porch, according to Cyganik, the kids said someone should “burn down” the house.

After stewing on the kids’ words, Cyganik decided he would offer to paint the home. Cyganik asked for supplies donations from Tum-A-Lum Lumber and also sought help from volunteers through his Facebook page.

Nearly 100 volunteers showed up to help repair the house. Cyganik’s act of service was reported by the East Oregonian and national news outlets including Huffington Post, USA Today, CBS, NBC and ABC.

Cyganik feels honored — even shocked — to receive the award, but also believes the award should recognize every volunteer who contributed.

Although the public recognition is part of the Silent Servant Award, Marsh said they also give the award to encourage people to serve their community. So far, Cyganik has followed that trajectory.

With the help of contractors, including Dusty Pace, Pioneer Title & Escrow and Tum-A-Lum Lumber, Cyganik is in the process of starting a nonprofit called Building Hope of Eastern Oregon. Projects will mainly consist of home improvements, but committee members have also discussed building bus stop shelters around the community. Cyganik said the experience painting the Bullocks’ house last August opened his eyes to helping people around the community.

“We really need to step it up and all pitch in to make (Pendleton) a great place,” Cyganik said.

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