Man in Ohio who calls himself 'the Picasso of fire hydrants' adopts, paints dozens of them

'I'm praying and painting'
fire hydrant.jpeg
Posted at 3:19 PM, Aug 10, 2021

BRUNSWICK, Ohio — Dayle Keefer, a Medina County man who calls himself "the Picasso of fire hydrants," is giving back to the community, one brushstroke at a time.

Keefer moved to Brunswick not too long ago from Jamestown, New York, to be closer to family. The 72-year-old retired from his job as a church pastor after more than 50 years.

“We were walking the dog, and we saw these grungy fire hydrants all around,” Keefer said. That was the catalyst for Keefer to become involved in the city’s Adopt-A-Hydrant Program. Instead of praying and preaching from the pulpit, Keefer is painting and praying.

“While I'm doing this, I started praying, and God started to do work in my heart. This community needs you, and this has helped me connect,” explained Keefer.

Last year, Keefer painted a dozen faded fire hydrants. In a little more than a month this year, he is up to about a hundred. But, Keefer explained, it is not about how many of the 3,000 hydrants get a new coat of paint; instead, for him, it's about making each one beautiful.

As part of the Adopt-A-Hydrant Program, the city supplies the safety red paint, and volunteers supply the labor. Usually, volunteers paint one or two hydrants.

“He’s painted more hydrants than everyone combined,” said Brunswick Fire Chief Greg Glauner. But, Glauner explained, Keefer’s labor of love is more than about beautifying the community.

“It’s not just a hydrant that is unsightly. It is absolutely the most important tool when we arrive that we are going to utilize,” added Glauner.

“Dayle is an inspiration to everyone. He has a good heart and genuinely cares,” Glauner said.

“My heart’s goal is that every one of these is red and shiny throughout Brunswick,” said Keefer.

Tracy Carloss at WEWS first reported this story.