Mural memorializes casualties of Iraq, Afghanistan


By Jason Hawk - jhawk@aimmediamidwest.com



Artist Mike Sekletar projects a mock-up of his new mural design on the side of a downtown Amherst building, providing a guide he’ll use to paint the piece by Nov. 11.


Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times

Light from an old overhead projector shone downtown Tuesday after nightfall, illuminating the side of a building with the images of the brave.

Using the picture as a guide, artist Mike Sekletar began tracing the shapes of 10 Lorain County servicemen killed in action in Iraq and Afghanistan.

When complete, the mural will pay homage to:

• Air Force Airman 1st Class Eric Barnes of Lorain, killed June 10, 2007, by an improvised explosive device.

• Army Sgt. Benjamin Biskie of Vermilion, killed Dec. 24, 2003, by an improvised explosive device.

• Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Ryan Giese of Lorain, killed Jan. 7, 2011, in combat operations.

• Marine Corps Lance Cpl. David Hall of Lorain, killed Aug. 31, 2009, by an improvised explosive device.

• Army Staff Sgt. James Hunter of South Amherst, killed June 18, 2010, by an improvised explosive device.

• Army Capt. Michael Medders of Avon Lake, killed Sept. 24 2008, by a suicide bomber.

• Army Sgt. Daniel Shepherd of Elyria, killed Aug. 15, 2004, by an improvised explosive device.

• Army Sgt. Norman Tollett of Elyria, killed April 28, 2007, by enemy forces in an exchange of small-arms fire.

• Army Sgt. Louis Torres of Oberlin, killed Aug. 22, 2012, by an improvised explosive device.

• Army Master Sgt. Robert West of Elyria, killed May 14, 2006, by an improvised explosive device.

Sekletar and local veterans also wanted to include images of Army Spc. Jason Cow, killed June 16, 2008, by an improvised explosive device; and Army Sgt. Bruce Horner of Lorain, killed June 1, 2007, during an exchange of small-arms fire with enemy forces.

The servicemen’s families could not be reached.

An additional stone paver will be custom made for Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Colin Smith, a lifetime member of the American Legion who survived a sniper’s bullet in October 2006 while serving near Fallujah, Iraq.

Sekletar conceived of the Iraq-Afghanistan mural in 2015 while working on a similar mural depicting Korean War veterans.

The side of the Janik law building on Park Avenue also includes tributes in paint to those who fought to claim Iwo Jima for the Allies in World War II and Americans who died in Vietnam.

The newest mural, emblazoned with the words “They gave all,” shows the late Lorain County men situated around a Humvee, some in dress uniform and others in fatigues.

The painting will be unveiled at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11 at Amherst’s annual Veterans Day ceremony in the municipal parking lot.

Smith will participate in the ceremony.

The artist’s father, John Sekletar, said his son recently completed a mural at the Lorain County Valor Home in Lorain. It depicts a 28-foot-tall Lady Liberty with her sword of justice held high.

Another installment is planned at Yours Truly restaurant in Beachwood, with another five jobs lined up in the city of Lorain.

Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.

Artist Mike Sekletar projects a mock-up of his new mural design on the side of a downtown Amherst building, providing a guide he’ll use to paint the piece by Nov. 11.
http://www.theamherstnewstimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2017/10/web1_DSC_0266.jpgArtist Mike Sekletar projects a mock-up of his new mural design on the side of a downtown Amherst building, providing a guide he’ll use to paint the piece by Nov. 11.

Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times

By Jason Hawk

jhawk@aimmediamidwest.com