The Rainelle Community Development Corporation is honored to be a part of a large mural honoring America and Vietnam veterans.
Currently in development, the mural will be installed at Veteran’s Memorial Park on Main Street. The 76-feet long and 24-feet tall work of art features iconic American images, including a very large bald eagle, representations of all branches of the U.S. military, Harley Davidson motorcycles, and monuments in Washington, DC. The mural celebrates the town’s proud heritage of participating in the veterans’ motorcycle ride “Run For The Wall,” which began in 1989 by the Rolling Thunder organization and continued by the Run For The Wall organization for the last 29 years.
“It is our hope the mural will not only honor our military (past, present and future), but will acknowledge and be a way of saying thank you for their sacrifices to give our country the freedoms we all have today. The United States of America is a leader in world freedom and our youth of today is charged with the task of ensuring the red, white and blue continues to fly in honor of our military and the freedoms we all enjoy,” said Rainelle Mayor Andrea Pendleton.
Southern West Virginia Artist Tom Acosta, based in Kimball, started painting the mural last week near his McDowell County home. He has previously painted the largest mural in the state, the Martha Moore Riverfront Park Mural and downtown Princeton, WV’s “In Honor of All Veterans” mural in a joint partnership with Elden Justice, and several other murals in McDowell and Summers Counties.
“It is an honor to commemorate the service and sacrifices of our Vietnam veterans through this project, which will be a center of pride for Rainelle residents for years to come and be seen and photographed by people across our nation,” said Acosta.
In May 2018, the town welcomed “Run For the Wall” riders for the 30th year of the event, and grounded 11,000 American flags prior to their arrival, representing the 11,000 West Virginians who have given their lives since World War I.
“Rainelle first opened its heart to the ‘Run For The Wall’ riders in 1988 as they made their first trek to Washington, D.C. to draw attention to the plight of the American soldiers who were POW/MIA (Prisoners of War/Missing In Action) from the Vietnam War. The stop in Rainelle has grown from less than 50 riders that first year to more than 500 who annually visit and renew their bonds with this small town. Many of these riders start talking about Rainelle when they leave California for their 10-day ride across the U.S. We are extremely grateful to Tom Acosta for his efforts to enhance our VFW Memorial park and allow it to inspire citizens and visitors every day and to welcome these patriots when they visit each May,” said local veteran J.W. Puckett.
The mural will be developed using 52 individual 4’x8’ MDO (medium density overlay) panels, fabricated aluminum screen panels, in a realistic style using bulletin colors. Acosta is currently painting the first of five sections of the mural in downtown Kimball. Once finished, it will be transported and installed at Veteran’s Memorial Park in Rainelle.