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Artist Creates Chalk Mural on Free Speech Wall to Honor Troops - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Artist Creates Chalk Mural on Free Speech Wall to Honor Troops

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Artist Sam Welty in front of his mural Artist Sam Welty in front of his mural
Completed chalk mural Completed chalk mural
Photo used to create mural Photo used to create mural

One artist spent Saturday creating a chalk mural as a tribute to our nation's troops leading into the July 4 holiday.

It's designed for people passing by to take a moment to honor veterans, wounded warriors, and military families.

Hampton Roads-based artist Sam Welty thought it would be an appropriate display as the country prepares to celebrate America's freedoms.

Even though the mural is temporary, the story behind it is hard to forget.  "I come to Charlottesville all the time just to do artwork for the Free Speech Monument. Today is special," Welty said.  

Welty spent more than four hours at the Free Speech Wall on the Charlottesville downtown mall sketching, smearing, and blending countless colors of chalk to finish his temporary masterpiece.  He doesn't hesitate to tell the story behind it.

"The story here is that Team Wounded Wear while running a 5K met up with this young man named Jack, who has several spinal-genetic defects, things that he's been dealing with," Welty said.

Jack just happened to be a huge fan of military special operations and special forces. So Jack's dad teamed up with Wounded Wear to give his son an unforgettable experience.

"Wounded Wear was started by a Navy Seal so his dad put him in the chair and with these Navy Seals in full battle kit, they ran the 5K together," Welty said.

It's an inspiring story that reminds Welty of the service of our nation's troops.

"There have been tons of people walking by, people stopping to shake my hand, people yelling thank you as they go on their morning run," he said.

Even though the mural won't be there to admire for long, it's this kind of appreciation that leaves a lasting impression.

"I love stories.  I love passionate people.  I love people that are trying to do good things in the world; all of these people in the picture are those for me.  And if I get to do a drawing of it, it kind of makes it my own.  I get to tell the story in my own way and honor them at the same time," Welty said.

The mural features three different organizations that support service members - Wounded WearTribute Flight and Warrior Gateway.

Welty also recorded a time lapse of his work that he posted on YouTube.

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