Paintings by WWII vet memorialize fallen Marines from L-C
Big hearts in Luxemburg and Casco got bigger Monday night thanks for an elderly Pennsylvania man.
World War II veteran Alex Yawor, 94, painted oil portraits of fallen soldiers Jesse Thiry, Luke Zimmerman and Dean Opicka. All three were Luxemburg-Casco High School graduates who fought for freedom as U.S. Marines while deployed in Iraq. Cpl. Thiry was killed in 2004, Sgt. Zimmerman in 2006 and Lance Cpl. Opicka in 2008.
American Legion Post 262 of Luxemburg presented the portraits to family and friends of the Marines during a ceremony Feb. 20 at Luxemburg Village Hall. More than 50 people, about half of them veterans attired in Legion uniforms, attended the presentation hosted by American Legion Post 65 in Rome (near Wisconsin Rapids).
The American Legion has presided over other ceremonies in the state where Yawor has been commissioned to honor fallen soldiers with his portraits of the soldiers in their dress blues, although a formal portrait of Zimmerman wasn’t available.
Sadly, none of the servicemen and servicewomen will ever see the final product.
Living in in Hopewell Township, Pa., near Pittsburgh, Yawor frames, boxes and ships the paintings to the families, free of charge. These were portrait Nos. 8, 9 and 10 for Post 65 presentations that involved artwork by Yawor, also a U.S. Marine and Legion member. Remarkably, Yawor first picked up a brush just 12 years ago.
Each draped with a U.S. flag, the 16-by-20-inch portraits were unveiled one by one in Monday’s ceremony.
“As soon as he unveiled it, I leaned over (to husband Randy) and said it was Jesse,’’ said Sue Thiry of Casco, stepmother of Jesse Thiry. “This means so much more than images,’’ she added, wiping her eyes.
Although the artist was not in attendance, photographs were shown. He was featured in the October issue of Readers Digest magazine.
“To me,” said Post 65 Cmdr. Paul Kahr, “(Yawor) is a patriot. There’s not many people around that do this.’’
The ceremony concluded with a luncheon reception.
This article originally appeared on Wisconsin: Paintings by WWII vet memorialize fallen Marines from L-C