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Veteran Suicide Awareness Painting Being Escorted Across Country


Joint Operation Mariposa will be sponsoring a multistate Veteran Suicide awareness event starting Sept. 1. Artwork created by National Archives Artists David Williams and Hailee Steinebach will be escorted from Neah Bay, Wash., to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The names of Veterans lost to suicide (followed by a Green Star), Veterans and Family members will be signed on the back of the painting during the journey. Upon its arrival in Washington D.C. it will be donated to the nation and accepted by leading political figures from both the House and Senate.

This artwork was painted in 2018 to show support for the families that have lost Veterans to suicide and is part of the 1000 foot long “Guardians of the Herd” piece. This painting is six feet tall, eight feet wide, painted on burlap and it depicts a solitary Green Horse on a white background. The color of the horse is a nod to Green Star Families, families that have lost their Veteran to suicide. The design is based on the line drawings of Moon Illusion on Deviantart. com. All of the “Guardians of the Herd” Artwork is in the process of being donated to Tribal and Veterans organizations as requested by Veterans from across the country.

David Williams is a Navy Veteran with a Traumatic Brain Injury, Founder of Joint Operation Mariposa and self-taught artist, Hailee Steinebach is an artist, full time college student and both reside in Sanders County. Their artwork was presented to the President of the United States in October of 2018 and have artwork on display at the VA Reginal Office in Helena.

Through JOM’s Veterans in the classroom program they have helped school students of all ages create more than 2000 pieces of artwork and you can view their artwork hanging in public schools throughout western Montana.

There will be scheduled stops at military bases and Veterans service organizations in rural and urban communities along the journey. At these stops Veterans, their families and the families of veterans that have taken their own lives will be invited to add their names to the back of the artwork.

They will also be allowed to write the name of their veteran and place a green star after the name so that we can all see the lives effected by one life leaving.

“We veterans hide really well when we take off our uniforms but we are still here, we are in every community and the lives of the men and women who served with us matter. I hope that this journey demonstrates our commitment to those who are struggling and gives us this rare opportunity to show our communities who we are and our commitments to them as well,” artist David Williams said.

Joint Operation Mariposa is a registered 501c(3) Veterans Outreach Organization located in Plains. Their mission is to bring basic services and quality referrals to the under-represented Veteran communities throughout northwest Montana. A major effort includes identifying and developing community-based projects designed to bring Veterans together and foster Vet-to-Vet interactions. Through art, education, and therapy, JOM leaves no one behind. Keep track of the Green Horse painting’s travels by visiting the website at www.jointoperationmariposa. org or watch the progress on www.

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