Charleen Carroll has been a part of the Manteca Mural Society since its founding.
She has seen three dozen unique artworks grace the walls of Manteca businesses and buildings since the group was formed over a decade ago, and as the group’s president she’ll see many more in the coming years.
But none are as important to her as the one that’s coming next.
Carroll – the sister of Brock Elliott, the first Manteca serviceman killed during the Vietnam War – is currently at the helm of the city’s next veterans’ mural that will pay tribute to those that served their country during the Vietnam War, and those who paid the ultimate price for the freedoms that we all enjoy.
On Thursday Carroll greeted veterans, residents and Mural Society members who wanted to view the three submissions that will be narrowed down to one with the winner added to the five-panel veterans’ wall located at the corner of Main Street and Yosemite Avenue in the Bedquarters parking lot. The three murals in place represent sacrifices in World War II, the Korean War, and the Global War on Terror.
The artistic committee of the mural society will decide between submissions by Jesse Marinas, Ella Yates and Linda and Echo Schroder by the end of this month. They hope to award the contract to the muralist early next month so it’s ready for a May dedication to keep with the tradition of unveiling the finished veterans mural around Memorial Day.
“This is extremely important to me personally – my husband and my brother were together in Vietnam, and there were so man young men from here that served,” Carroll said. “There were 17 that passed away, but we know so many people being from that generation that served their country and went to Vietnam, and this is a chance to honor them and their service to their country.”
After word got out last week that the group was short on funding to make the mural a reality, a trio of donations that totaled more than $3,600 rolled in within days to put them over the $25,000 mark required to pay the artist for their time.
Once the mural is completed and dedicated, that will leave just one panel left – honoring veterans of WWI – to be completed. According to Carroll, work on the planning for that mural will likely start before the Vietnam mural is completed so that it can be unveiled in May of 2018 to coincide with Manteca’s centennial celebration.
And while the Vietnam mural means so much to her family, she wasn’t the only representative of a Gold Star Family that was in attendance on Thursday to voice their opinion on which of the three they would like to see added.
Dorothy Gore – whose son David, a 1967 Manteca High School graduate, also lost his life during the Vietnam War – was in attendance to offer her input and comments about the three proposals and see which one she thought best represented her family’s story.
“I think that it’s wonderful that they’re doing this – I personally really appreciate the work that has gone into this,” Gore said. “It’s good to be able to have a voice in this and what we like and we didn’t like and to get to chance to have some of the artists explain things. That means a lot to us.”
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email email@example.com or call 209.249.3544.