Three Luxemburg-Casco families whose sons made the ultimate sacrifice for their country are scheduled to be touched by a special artist during an American Legion ceremony Monday night.
Alex Yawor is a painter from Hopewell Township, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Pittsburgh, who has painted more than 100 portraits of fallen heroes. The 95-year-old World War II veteran recently completed portraits of Jesse Thiry, Dean Opicka and Luke Zimmerman.
Yawor served as a Marine in the Pacific Theater including the siege of Iwo Jima, and he took up painting as a hobby after he returned from the war. In 2009 he began producing 16 by 20 inch portraits for the families of soldiers who died overseas.
“I believe certain people were put on this earth for a reason,” Yawor said in a profile that Reader’s Digest published. “If I live to be 100 and am able to paint, then I’ll paint for the parents who want portraits.”
Thiry, a 2000 graduate of Luxemburg-Casco High School, volunteered for service in Iraq and died in combat April 5, 2004, in Fallujah.
Zimmerman, a classmate of Thiry’s, was killed in combat in Al Anbar province in Iraq on Oct. 27, 2006.
Opicka was killed April 15, 2008, during Operation Iraqi Freedom by a roadside bomb that also killed another soldier and wounded a third.
Commander Dennis Langteau of American Legion Post 262 of Luxemburg arranged for the paintings to be presented to the families during a 6 p.m. ceremony Monday, Feb. 20, at Luxemburg Village Hall, 206 Maple St. Paul Kahr, commander of Legion Post 65 in Nekoosa, is scheduled to present the paintings.