Portrait honors hometown heroes
WARREN — They walk among us. They are with us in line at the grocery store or in the vehicle next to ours at a red light.
“They” are veterans of the U.S. military, and each has a story about their service, but often, it goes untold.
But local artist Marty Young is shining a light on some of these stories with a portrait she painted of 12 local veterans, which she donated to the Trumbull County Veterans Service Commission.
“Many veterans are private about their experiences,” said Herm Breuer, commission director.
“You know them today as being retired from Packard or being a retired school teacher or continuing in their civilian careers, but you don’t really know what they did in the military. These people are just like us, but there is great honor in the contributions of local vets. Young’s memorial painting has significant historical value that allows us to carry on some of these stories,” Breuer said.
Young’s painting, organized in a grid with 10 men and two women veterans, pays tribute not only to the featured veterans, but also to all those of the past and future.
A diary and picture of Young’s great-uncle, Thomas Edward Hanlon, was the inspiration for the mural that took approximately one year to complete, Young said. Hanlon served as a private in the U.S. Army during World War I and was killed in action on his 21st birthday at Chateau-Thierry, France, where he is buried.
The other 11 veterans featured in the painting were chosen because Young said she wanted to represent all branches of the armed forces and to make sure the painting depicted the diversity of the military. The painting includes four featured vets who reside locally in each of the artwork’s four corners.
Gary Gutelius, a Vietnam veteran and veteran services commissioner who represents Disabled American Veterans Trumbull County Chapter 11, said he was moved by Young’s tribute to local heroes.
“In the painting, I see some who charged across battlefields, some who fought on the high seas, some who patrolled the open skies . . . and all contributed to the character and greatness of America,” Gutelius said.
“I see the history of men and women who have stood watch over America’s peace. I see this painting as a dedication to all those who have answered the call to service — whether they live in honor among us or sleep in valor beneath their grave markers.”
Ken David, a highly decorated Vietnam veteran, said of Young’s painting, “it’s a great honor for an artist to take time out of her schedule to create a mural that honors vets throughout history.”
Robert Brothers, a Korean War veteran who previously served on the veteran services commission, said the portrait is a “great way to honor local vets and I’m happy that it has been donated to the Veteran Services Commission.”
Young’s painting, originally displayed at the Butler Institute of American Art and Packard Music Hall, is now located permanently in the lobby of the Samuel E. Lanza Veterans Resource Center in downtown Warren.
“I had no concept of where the painting was going to live, so I’m delighted that it has found a permanent home,” said Young, a retired music teacher.