UPDATE: Progress to mural honoring Chattanooga's Fallen Five
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -
UPDATE: A mural honoring the Fallen Five is one step closer to being complete. Two of the five faces of Chattanooga's heroes have been painted on the 40-foot wall along McCallie Avenue.
The faces of Sgt. Carson Holmquist and Navy Petty Officer Randall Smith are complete. Still left to be done are portraits of Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, Lance Cpl Skip Wells and Sgt. David Wyatt.
"I hope that in doing this, 20, 30, 40 years from now, you know people drive through these and they'll remember not the shooter, but they'll remember Holmquist, Smith, Sullivan, Wells, Wyatt," said Artist Kevin Bate.
Every day since the July 16th shootings, artist Kevin Bate has had the faces of the Fallen Five ingrained in his mind, and little by little, he's been adding to his vision in their honor.
As Bate has learned more about the lives of the men he's painting, he's added smaller symbols to the finished product, and another addition could be added soon.
"I'm thinking very seriously about adding a Purple Heart to each one of them," he said, "For Randall Smith I think I might add three little tiny ones, I know that each of his three daughters were given a Purple Heart."
On rainy days like Tuesday Bate has to keep the paint inside.
While the project is taking longer than expected to complete, he promises it will get done.
"It will be done," Bate said, "You know rain days, scaffolding falling, holidays, whatever. It will get done."
He's hoping those who see these faces when driving by feel comfort, pride, and Chattanooga strong.
"I really feel like we need to remember these people, the victims," Bate said.
Every part of this project has been donated, the artist has been donating his time, the paint has been donated, even the wall space has been donated.
Bate says the only thing he still needs is lighting, to create a permanent light display once the mural is finished.
"You know if somebody wanted to volunteer or donate some lights, and if an electrition wanted to donate installation, the building owner said he will pay for the electricity," he added.
ORIGINAL STORY: A local artist has found a unique way to pay tribute to the four Marines and one Sailor killed in Chattanooga nearly three weeks ago.
Those five service members have since been laid to rest but this artist wants to make sure Chattanoogans driving down McCallie Avenue never forget their faces or names.
Kevin Bate has decided to paint a memorial mural with their five faces at 1715 McCallie Avenue. Tennessee Wholesale Florist occupies the building and donated the wall space. Behr Paint is donating the paint and primer.
Some of Bate's work can be seen on a building at the northeast corner of Frazier Avenue and Tremont Street.
"No they weren't on deployment and no they weren't in a combat zone but they're still wearing a uniform and they're still working for us and I think that's worth all the honor we can give them," Bate said.
He'll begin priming work this week and estimates the entire project could take up to 3 months.
He asks anyone who is interested in helping, particularly with the grunt work like priming, to contact him on his Facebook page Kevin Bate is Good With Faces.