KEWANEE - November 12, 2009. Governor Pat Quinn today joined with Gold Star Families to unveil the Portrait of a Soldier memorial exhibition at the American Legion Post #31 in Kewanee.
“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 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 240 Illinois men and women who have died in service to our country since September 11, 2001.
Governor Quinn was joined by members of Gold Star families including: Kim Smith, widow of SSG Paul Smith (East Peoria); John and Amy Patch, Kevin Gorey and Dave Gorey, parents, uncle and grandfather of SPC Schuyler Patch (Kewanee); and Bridgette Cain, widow of SPC Norman Cain (Mt. Morris).
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.
The exhibit will run 8:00 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day through Sunday, November 15.