Pete Gonyea a member of the VFW had visited a Post in St. Augustine and had seen a beautiful mural on the wall there. He was so moved by the mural that he suggested having one painted in the local VFW at a meeting. It was voted on and approved by the Post committee.
The next step was to find someone to paint the mural. Ila Valcarcel was approached by her daughter Cassandra (VFW Bartender) and Pete , as Ila’s daughter knew she enjoyed painting and thought she would be able to help out. Of course Ila jumped at the chance of being able to express her gratitude to the Veterans for all of their service and sacrifices that they have given for all of us Americans.
Ila wanted to come up with a picture that represented all of the service branches of the military and show the pride we all feel for America. Unfortunately, before I began the mural, Pete passed away unexpectedly. Ila said “My heart just broke over the loss of such a gentle and nice man. He didn’t get to see the final design or the finished mural, but with every stroke of my brush, I knew he would have loved it.” She said “My heart and soul went into this mural…not just for Pete, but also for all of the people that come to the VFW every day”. She said “They are a family and welcomed me with open arms. I am so proud that I was able to create something that has moved so many, in such profound ways, that let them reflect on their own personal story of service.” Stop by the Greater Pine Island VFW Post. 4353