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Weiser Activity Center for Seniors Receives Veteran Mural as Heartfelt Memorial

Posted January 15, 2024

By Robyn Hernandez

In honor of past Veterans Day, the senior center was gifted with a new 20 foot flag mural as a veterans memorial wall.

The wall was the brainchild of Tony, who works at the senior center and has a heart for honoring the seniors that come in for lunch and conversation. Tony’s original idea was to paint the official seal of different branches of the government on this wall, and then list veterans who had served in these branches. For those who have seen these official US seals, they are very intricate. Bonnie Akbar, of ArtfulBon’s was contacted to execute her artistic skills for the project. She was a little nervous about both getting it done on time, and getting it done accurately. Says Bonnie, “Lettering isn’t really my strength, and it would have taken me HOURS to do just one. Something like that, honoring the person who served under that branch, who is familiar with the seal, you can’t paint it superficially. It has to be official and correct.”

The weekend of the craft show held at the Vendome found the solution. One of the booths was hosted by Monty Green, of Payette. Monty creates beautiful detailed seals out of wood of each branch of the military. Instead of just the original 4 branches of Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines, there were also Sea Bees, Coast Guard, and National Guard.

Unfortunately, they were beyond the budget that the Center had allotted to fund the wall. Bonnie and her dad, James (Dick) Garrett purchased and donated them. Janet Baker offered more support for the project by donating the paint needed to complete the flag mural.

Bonnie then came up with a flag design as a backdrop for those beautiful seals and spent the next week up on a scaffolding painting a 20 foot waving flag.

As she was painting, numerous visitors of the center approached Bonnie with their own stories and those of their spouses from time in the service. “They were all so encouraging and appreciative during the whole process,” said Akbar. “It’s really been an honor to do this. I am so grateful to the veterans that have served so that I have the freedom to do something like this, live where I do, have what I have. This is an amazing country to live in, and I get to enjoy it because of their patriotism.”

After hanging the seals, it was decided by all that individual names were not needed, as it would detract from the flag. Later, the words Thank you for your service will be added to the memorial wall.

If you haven’t had a chance to see the veteran memorial flag mural, you are welcome to join the community for wonderful conversations and delicious lunch served Monday through Friday, 11:30-12:30 at the Weiser Activity Center for Seniors.

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