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Worthington VFW sporting new mural

Open house is scheduled for 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday

061921.N.DG.VFWWORK
A new mural created by Harvey's Signs of Worthington now adorns one of the walls inside the Worthington VFW Post 3958 home. An open house scheduled for 5 to 8 p.m. today will highlight this and other improvements inside the facility. (Ryan McGaughey/The Globe)

WORTHINGTON — Bigger and brighter are two words to describe the transformation that has taken place inside the Worthington VFW Post 3958 home.

“Bigger” refers to a new mural that was recently completed, replacing one that Post Commander Simon Koster believes had been in place for approximately 25 years. “Brighter” describes the freshly painted walls throughout the facility and entryway.

To showcase the improvements, the post is hosting an open house from 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday at its 1117 Second Ave. home. Food including pulled pork, potato salad, baked beans and a patriotic-themed cake will be served, and a brief program will take place at 6 p.m.

The new 7- by 20-foot mural replaces the previous 7- by 12-foot art display, Koster explained.

“It was an eagle flying over some grassland and it was paper,” Koster said. “Over the years, it had gotten beat up pretty well, so it was time to do something.”

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There was considerable discussion about what that “something” should be, Koster continued.

“We were actually going to take the paper off and we had a couple of volunteer artists that were going to paint a scene,” he said. “Then, we also had another artist (Worthington High School art teacher Gail Holinka) ... but she ended up falling and hurting her shoulder, so we decided to go with this option.”

That option was Harvey’s Signs, which with input from the group depicts soldiers, Arlington National Cemetery, logos of the various U.S. military branches and a center point honoring soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

“I had a couple of young kids that came in and one of them wanted to join the VFW,” Koster recalIed. “I call them young, but they’re around 40ish. His idea was, ‘We’ve got to clean this up so that we can make it more appealing to the younger veterans, and for the regular customers and regular veterans that come in.’

“We came up with the idea of starting to do some fundraising, and one of the guys went out and was good at it,” continued Koster, adding that he contributed to that effort as well. “We ended up with over 30 contributions — all of them who care about veterans and support veterans.”

Nearly $4,000 was raised, with funds going for both the mural and the painting of the walls; the paint was furnished by Schwalbach Ace Hardware of Worthington. The entryway was also painted along with the entry door, and Harvey’s Signs will add a mural on the front door sometime this fall.

Additionally, the post home’s walls now feature some displays, Koster pointed out.

“We’ve had things laying around that we’ve put up,” he said. “I have a picture that came from Sen. (Tom) Daschle’s office — my daughter worked for him and when he lost the election, he gave me a big eagle statue that he had in his office as well as this picture. And the POW picture is significant because I’m the board chairman of Rolling Thunder, which is a Vietnam veterans group. We are the group that helped design the POW/MIA flag, and we are the group that got President (George W.) Bush to declare that the POW flag should fly under the American flag.

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During Saturday’s open house, Koster will introduce the committee that coordinated the improvements. There will also be a brief talk about veterans programs, a devotion, and celebration of the new mural.

The event is open to the public.

“I want the public to be as excited about this as I am,” he said.

Ryan McGaughey arrived in Worthington in April 2001 as sports editor of The Daily Globe, and first joined Forum Communications Co. upon his hiring as a sports reporter at The Dickinson (North Dakota) Press in November 1998. McGaughey became news editor in Worthington in November 2002 and editor in August 2006.
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