TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – A Vigo Co. woman wanted to honor veterans. So she took on a project that’s now bringing her community together.
At Maryvale Assisted Living, you’ll find Mary Lou Curtis. She stands proudly in front of her work, admiring the message behind each frame.
“I thought it would be nice to have Maryvale’s wall of veterans,” said Curtis.
It’s been her five-year project that she recently saw come to life.
“As more people would come in I would inquire to see if they were a veteran and I would ask if I could interview them,” said Curtis.
She worked as a reporter herself, interviewing every veteran who lived there and writing their story.
Each 8×10 frame is filled with the memories of veterans who fought wars like Vietnam War, Korea War and World War II.
“I’m proud of my picture hanging up there, I mean it’s something,” said Vietnam War Veteran, Richard Hillier.
Hillier served in the Navy for four years.
“Vietnam was not a popular war. We came back and people were all up in arms about us and all I can say is war is not pretty,” said Hillier.
“People would come up to after they saw this and they didn’t realize all the things that we did,” said Vietnam War Veteran, Kenneth Yocum.
Yocum earned a spot on the wall after eight years of service in the Navy and Army.
“I feel like I belong to a group,” said Yocum.
While he was reading the other veterans’ stories, Yocum realized he was living under the same roof as another family member.
“When I came in here and read his story I said wow he’s a relative of mine and I never knew it,” said
“I have a lot of respect for our troops and I have a lot of respect for people like Mary Lou,” said Hillier.
Just like that, this 85-year-old connected a group of people with her pencil and paper.
“Everyone comes and looks at that wall and then they realize hey that’s my neighbor on the wall,” said Curtis.
Mary Lou says she’ll continue to honor the country’s veterans, but she does have one small request.
“Well I hope someone takes over for me as new people come in and they will do an interview and continue it because our wall will be here forever,” said Curtis.
Anyone is welcome to visit the wall and read the stories of the veterans at Maryvale Assisted Living. They’re located at 3461 St. Marys Road West Terre Haute, IN 47885.