CHAMPAIGN - October 31, 2009. Governor Pat Quinn joined with Gold Star Families for a ceremony at Parkland College in Champaign to unveil 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 Thursday, November 5. It will be open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, October 31, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, November 1 and from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, November 2 through November 4. The exhibit will open Thursday morning, November 5, at 7 a.m. and close in the afternoon.
The memorial exhibition 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. It has been viewed by thousands of people in more than 45 cities and towns throughout Illinois.
Governor Quinn was joined by members of Gold Star families including: Ava Tomson, mother of SPC Lucas Starcevich (Canton); Bill Wolfe, stepfather of Cpl. Anthony Mihalo (Naperville); Joy Henderson, mother of PFC Seth Miller (Monticello); Mark Beaupre, father of Capt. Ryan Beaupre (Bloomington); Jaye Roberts, mother of Cpl. Allen Roberts (Arcola); and Connie Bickers, mother of SPC Cory Hubbell (Urbana).
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.