MOUNT CARMEL - October 24, 2009. Governor Pat Quinn joined with Gold Star Families for a ceremony at Wabash Valley College for the unveiling of the Portrait of a Soldier memorial exhibition.
“Today, as we remember those who lost their lives it is fitting that we honor our service members and their families,” said Governor Quinn. “I am honored to be joined today by Gold Star Families whose sons and daughters have lost their lives in the Global War on Terror and are Illinois’ true heroes.”
The exhibit will run through Wednesday, October 28th. It will be open from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday the 25th and from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
The memorial exhibition, which has been viewed by thousands of people in more than 45 cities and towns throughout Illinois, is a series of hand-drawn portraits of more than 220 Illinois men and women who have died in service to our country since Sept.11, 2001.
Governor Quinn and Sen. John Jones were joined by members of Gold Star families including: Doris and Oscar Torres, parents of PFC Omar Torres (Chicago); Rev. Allen and Shirley Wright, parents of SPC Brian Wright (Keensburg); Teresa Clark, mother of LCpl Nicholas Kleiboeker (Irvington); Patricia and Terry Evans, mother and step father of SPC Ryan Carlock (Macomb); Betty Richards and Ruth Ridgely, mother and aunt of SSG K. Levi Ridgely (Olney); and Fred and Gay Eisenhauer, parents of PFC Wyatt D. Eisenhauer (Pinckneyville).
Artist Cameron Shilling of Mattoon drew the first portrait in August 2004, after Army Spc. Charles Neeley, also of Mattoon, was killed in Iraq. Schilling gave the sketch to Spc. Neely’s parents to convey his sympathy for their loss. In October 2005, while a student at Eastern Illinois University, Schilling decided to draw a portrait of every Illinois servicemember who has fallen during the Global War on Terror.