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July 4, 2013 Issue

So we will remember
Complaint filed against officers
Two more suspects in shooting turn themselves in

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So we will remember

By Parish Howard
Editor/Publisher

The last time most anyone who really knew Hammond McTier saw him he was boarding a bus in downtown Wrens heading off to war. He was just one of thousands of young soldiers who have been called to duty and he is one of thousands who did not come home.

Now, through the work of family members he never got to know, part of his story has returned to Wrens. His image is part of a downtown mural designed to pay tribute to the men and women who have served this country and the community that supports them.

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“Because my family is blessed to have photography from World War II and Vietnam as well as many letters written by those serving from our family, I was excited to compose a figurative mural as tribute to the five branches of our service and their families,” said Lucy McTier, the Stapleton-based artist who designed the mural. “This is an opportunity to highlight the ultimate sacrifice a soldier is called on to make.”

In March Mctier was approached by Wrens Better Hometown representative Peggy Sheppard who was just looking for help and information. Sheppard said that the organization wanted to make use of a wall of the post office that adjoins Wrens Veterans Memorial Park.

Lucy had more than advice to offer. She had a vision.

Hammond McTier was her husband David’s uncle. He died at the base of Mt. Suribachi in the battle for Iwo Jima four days after the flag was raised.

“This was the first thing that came to my mind because it is such a powerful visual element of the soldier in action,” Lucy said pointing to her rendition of the image of the flag raising on Iwo Jima, the central image of the mural. “It shows them at a crucial moment in history, putting their lives on the line, but it also shows victory. And yet we know the victory was yet a month away.”

Slightly to the right of the central image is a portrait of Hammond McTier in his Marine uniform, reproduced in color from an old black-and-white photo.

“It was just four days later,” Lucy said. “He either saw the flag go up, or he got word of it.”

While painting the marines raising the flag, mixing the colors for their uniforms, she made personal discovery.

“It is a blessing to be able to paint things that move me because I get to think about them. (These uniforms are) not a Kelly green. They’re not a blue green. They’re not a brownish green. They are a drab green,” she said, daubing color together on her pallet to illustrate the differences in hue. “As a colorist, when you put yellow and blue together you come up with a really pretty bright green. But in order to make it the right color, you have to add red. And it just kept speaking to me that this is what the soldier (is doing). Without his commitment to put his life on the line there…is no armed forces.”

The painting also depicts a dark sky filling with cloth as paratroopers land on D-Day. She used the image of a helicopter landing to rescue soldiers in Vietnam from the snapshots of a cousin of David’s from Dearing.

On the far right, images include the Coast Guard’s first black pilot, an Air Force enlisted man with the reflection of F-22 jets in his glasses, Navy Seals and the U.S.S. Cofer.

“We didn’t know anything about the S.S. Cofer until the ROTC guy at the high school told us about it,” David said.

The ship, a destroyer escort, was named for the heroism of Seaman John J. Cofer, a rangefinder operator and spotter and Louisville native, who was killed in battle off Guadalcanal.

“He said, ‘Where’s the ship,’” Lucy said. “Someone else asked, where’s a plane? So we put the plane in the sunglasses of the Air Force guy.”

The mural also contains historical and agrarian images, including a girl sitting crosslegged by a mailbox, crying while reading a letter.

“I wanted a personal recognition that these are men and boys who have mothers and girlfriends and wives that they are leaving at home,” Lucy said. “There is so much our soldiers couldn’t do without all their family and friends are doing for them at home. The prayers and support are incredibly important.”

The painting includes the old Wrens flour mill, two horses that represent the payment the city’s founder paid the local native Americans for the acres where the city sits today, as well as an image of a man teaching a boy to plow a field with a mule.

A white chair, empty, sits facing the flag, casting a shadow back towards the families and home.

“People who have lost people in service know what that means,” Lucy said of the empty chair painted near the flag. “There are traditions where empty chairs are kept at the table. It’s a symbol for the fallen, those who did not return.”

This is her third mural. McTier has designed two others through the World Changers organization, one in Memphis, Tenn. and another in Charleston, W.V. Those were both 20 feet x 20 feet. The mural in Wrens, at 70 feet x 11 feet will be her largest so far.

While the design and original concept piece were hers, Lucy painted the mural with help of her oldest son, Jace, also an accomplished painter; her other son, Ty; her husband, David; and around 30 other residents who helped put paint on the wall.

“I see it as a teaching tool, an opportunity for people to talk about their country, about patriotism, things we just don’t talk to our children about anymore,” Lucy said.

Before it was even finished, people were stopping to talk to the McTiers about the mural, about their own years in service and about their memories of loved ones who served.

One woman said she wished they hadn’t painted the WWII Marine’s eyes blue.

“I told her the man’s eyes were blue,” David said. “She told me, no, her husband’s eyes were brown.”

Lucy said that isn’t the only time someone identified with the painting and had their own association with the portrait of that soldier.

One local woman shared her memories of home during WWII, memories of looking around old barns to salvage metal to help the war effort.

“Another woman told me that she just couldn’t look at it without crying,” Lucy said.

A lot of veterans have stopped by to comment on the painting. Some of them have picked up a brush and added their own daubs and swipes of color.

“One man was a Korea and Vietnam Vet who said yeah, he’d been over there and didn’t want to go back,” David said. “His brother had died in Vietnam.”

Another Vietnam veteran, after standing and looking over the mural for a few minutes, told him simply, “Thanks for remembering us.”

“I’ve cried a lot,” Lucy said. “I didn’t expect to be so sentimental about it. But people keep walking up and telling us their stories, about their families, and David comes over and tells me and then I spend 30 minutes crying while I paint.”

On July 13 at 11 a.m. Wrens Better Hometown will be holding a special dedication ceremony in the downtown park.

“We’re not sure if we should expect 20 people or 200,” Sheppard said. “So people may want to bring their own chairs. We just want everyone to come and see the mural and hear Lucy talk about where her ideas come from. She did a wonderful job. I could not have imagined better.”

The painting means a lot to the McTier family. David’s father, Kimmel McTier, had seven siblings who served in World War II. He retired in 1979 from the very post office that now bears the image of his brother.

The last strokes painted were the lettering…a phrase taken from a letter from Franklin Delano Roosevelt to David’s grandmother concerning Hammond’s death.

“It was a letter that went out to the families of all of those who had fallen,” Lucy said. “It read, ‘He stands at the unbroken line of patriots who dared to die that freedom might live.’ That’s what we’re going to put at the bottom.

“I wanted to write it out and show an event from history so people can teach their children what the flag is about, what our country is about and what patriotism means. It means sacrifice and it means standing firm on a rock. The faith of our fathers is really what the flag of our fathers is all about.”




Complaint filed against officers

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

In the early morning hours of Sunday, June 16, a concerned parent said her son had come to 5th Street at her request after two of his cousins had been shot.

“I asked him to meet me,” said Sandra Wilburn that morning, adding one of the victims, Kenneth Quarterman Jr., had been taken to a hospital in Augusta. Quarterman later died from his injuries.

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The other victim, Charles Lewis Brown III, was then being treated at Jefferson Hospital. Brown survived his injuries and after being treated, was released.

Wilburn said the two men had been victims of a drive-by shooting.

She said she had called her son, Damien Wilburn, to meet her at the scene of the shooting.

When he arrived, she said, officers stopped him, threw him down, handcuffed him and put a gun to his head.

A formal complaint has been made against the Louisville Police Department, District Attorney Hayward Altman confirmed last week.

“She made the formal complaint to me,” Altman said. “Nothing will be done until I make a formal, written request for an investigation.”

The district attorney said an investigation into the drive-by shooting is still ongoing.

“We’re tied up with this murder case right now,” he said. “We’ll do an investigation once the current investigation is complete.”

Altman said Louisville Police Chief Jimmy Miller has already requested a formal investigation into the complaint filed by the Wilburns.

“I will review the request; and, then I will formally ask the GBI to investigate the allegations,” he said.

Damien Wilburn stated in a letter to the editor of The News and Farmer / The Jefferson Reporter that his mother called and left a message for Miller; but, he had not returned the call.

Altman addressed this issue and said, “It is probably not appropriate for him (Miller) to talk with them (the Wilburns) until the investigation is complete.”




Two more suspects in shooting turn themselves in

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

Two suspects in a Jefferson County murder turned themselves in Monday, July 1. The men, identified as Octavius Desmond “Tay Tay” Hickson and Dalonte Jerrod “Big J” “Blac [sic] Boss” Tarver, came in to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office around 4 p.m. accompanied by a lawyer, Jefferson County District Attorney Hayward Altman announced Monday. Altman said he did not know if the attorney is representing either of the suspects.

The men are each facing a murder charge in the shooting death of Kenneth Quarterman Jr., 23, of Augusta. Quarterman was wounded Sunday, June 16, in what authorities have labeled a gang-related drive-by shooting in Louisville. Quarterman was taken to Georgia Regents University in Augusta where he was later pronounced dead.


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A second victim, Charles Lewis Brown III, 25, of Wrens received a gunshot wound to the head and one to the hand. He was taken to Jefferson Hospital where he was treated and released.

A total of 12 suspects have been named by authorities in connection with the shootings. Only one suspect remains at large as of this afternoon.

Authorities are still searching for Darryus Sergio Jackson, 22, of Wadley.

The district attorney has said the investigation is ongoing and other charges, including those in connection to the shooting of Brown, are pending.

Jackson was the 12th suspect to be named in the shootings.

The district attorney named the gang as MFG, saying the m stood for mother and the g for gang.

“This is just a continuation of the great job the GBI and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office have been putting into this case,” Altman said Monday.

Officials have asked anyone with information on the whereabouts of Jackson to contact the Georgia Bureau of Investigation at 706-595-2575 and ask for Special Agent in Charge Pat Morgan, the district attorney’s office at 478-237-7846 and ask for District Attorney Hayward Altman, the sheriff’s office at 478-625-7538 and ask for Lt. Robert Chalker or contact your local police department.







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