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Veterans group donates paintings to VA clinic

December 11, 2009|By HEATHER KEELS

HAGERSTOWN -- A local veterans group on Friday presented the Hagerstown VA Clinic with a gift of large framed prints of two paintings depicting U.S. soldiers in combat.

The prints, donated by Disabled American Veterans Chapter 14, are the beginning of what members said they hope will become a collection of military-themed art at the clinic.

One of the paintings, "First Boots on the Ground" by William S. Phillips, depicts members of the 1st Battalion, 7th Calvary deploying from Hueys on Nov. 14, 1965, in Ia Drang Valley in South Vietnam, during one of the first major battles of the Vietnam War. The print is signed by several of the soldiers depicted.

The other painting, "The American Soldier: Undaunted Courage and Sacrifice," depicts two soldiers protecting the injured crew of a Black Hawk helicopter that was shot down Oct. 3, 1993, during the Battle of Mogadishu in Somalia. The two soldiers, MSG Gary Gordon and SFC Randall Shughart, were killed in the conflict and were posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

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Patrick Casey, Junior Vice Commander of the DAV chapter, obtained the prints through a family member, and chapter members arranged to have them framed and donate them to the clinic, Chaplain Alan Shane said. The chapter has other prints that it has not yet framed that it hopes to donate in the future, Shane said.

Clinic coordinator Ellyse Lamont said she thought the paintings were a good way to show appreciation for the patients' service.

"We just want the veterans to be more comfortable coming into a place that really is representative of what they've done," she said. "The artwork we have in the clinic now is all kind of flowers and trees."

The Hagerstown VA Clinic is a community-based outpatient clinic open to all honorably discharged veterans. It is in the Hub Plaza building off of Eastern Boulevard.

Disabled American Veterans Chapter 14 is a group of about 475 U.S. military veterans living in and around Washington County who suffered some degree of disability while serving in a time of war or armed conflict.

Next week, the chapter will be delivering holiday care packages to about 250 veterans in area assisted living facilities, member Bernie Bargiel said.

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