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Veteran paints mural to honor veterans near downtown Fort Myers

Leo Stack is using his love of painting and love of country to create a mural honoring those who’ve served and those who help them transition once they return home.

“I did artwork in the military. I painted insignia on the doors of the officers, and I did camouflage the tanks and trucks,” Stack said.

So, in Stack’s quest to create this mural, he wants to specifically pay tribute to the people who help veterans when they return home. The people who helped him reintegrate into civilian life were the volunteers at Hearts and Homes for Veterans in Fort Myers.

“Leo was homeless [but] he has quite a bit of talent,” said Don Payton, a volunteer and founder of the Hearts and Homes for Veterans.

“They gave me food and welcomed me in as a brother and I felt that,” Stack said. And of course, he greatly appreciated feeling welcomed.

So, now, Stack is giving back.

“He said he wanted to volunteer to paint a mural, so we’re helping him, and he’s helping us,” Payton said.

Stack is using his gift to literally paint the picture of what happens at Hearts and Homes. “It says in words “from service to life.” “The visual representation of three people going from military to civilian life and work,” Stack said.

And veteran Robert Franklin, who served in the U.S. Army, said what Stack is doing is inspiring despite the situation he came from. “And that’s what that signifies is that we’re going to help our veteran as they leave the service, so they don’t fall into this pit of despair where they end up homeless,” Franklin said.

While Stack wants everyone to enjoy the art, he also wants to make sure the message behind it is not lost on them. “Just realize that they are people who gave it all,” Stack said.

Reporter:Melinda Lee
Writer:Drew Hill
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