AVON PARK — SFSC art students, veterans, community leaders and residents unveiled an artistic tribute to Highlands County veterans at the Avon Park Housing Authority (APHA) Veterans’ Veranda dedication on Feb. 20.
Cathy Futral, chair of the SFSC Art Department, helped design the mural that is now displayed permanently behind the APHA’s Delaney Heights Community Center. The SFSC art students who volunteered their time painting the project were Liz Carroll, Molly Haney, Alexandra Ibanez, Omar Montelongo, Casey Mullins, Kristina Mullins, Steve Mullins, and Ashley Sims.
“The mural stands as an acknowledgment of what generations of American veterans have done for our country,” said Futral. “We’re acknowledging their presence in the community and creating something for their families and community members to be proud of and reminded of each day.”
“It was a privilege to be a part of this profound experience,” said Carroll, an SFSC student majoring in fine arts. “Being from the Vietnam era, I was emotionally involved in those wars. Quite a few of my friends have died serving our country or have been affected emotionally or physically as a result. It’s important for us to honor and take care of those who have given their lives in order for us to be free.”
The new painting salutes those who served our country in the past and present. The mural reads, “Freedom is not free. Without your sacrifice, the cause would be lost. But you carried onward, no matter the cost.”
The mural was inspired by the Fallen Soldier Battle Cross (a helmet, rifle, set of dog tags, and a pair of boots) and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.
“We appreciate the college’s generosity for painting this beautiful mural with a purpose of recognizing the value of our veterans and their service to our country,” said Larry Shoeman, executive director of the APHA.