New mural in Amherst honors fallen Lorain County servicemen

AMHERST, Ohio - Lorain County servicemen killed in Iraq and Afghanistan are being honored in a new way in downtown Amherst.

A mural, painted by local artist Mike Sekletar, will be unveiled Saturday. 

It’s the fourth massive mural Sekletar has painted on the side of the Park Avenue building since 2011. The others honor veterans of World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

The latest mural showcases ten Lorain County men. Sekletar used a battlefield cross and dog tags to represent two others. 

“This one is unique because it’s real guys from Lorain County that are my age so it hits home in that regard,” said Sekletar. “A couple of the families have come down here while we’re working on it and it’s very emotional for them to see their son.”

Tom and Shary Barnes have watched Sekletar’s progress. Their son, Eric Barnes, was killed in Iraq in 2007. The Barnes’ gave Sekletar a picture of their son that showcases his big, bright smile. 

“Every feature, his eyes, his smile. It’s perfect,” Shary Barnes said of the mural. “When Eric would smile his left eye would shut just a tiny, tiny bit. That’s the first thing I looked at and that’s what I saw.” 

The ceremony and memorial dedication will take place Saturday at 11 a.m. at 248 Park Avenue. Organizers are expecting a big crowd. 

“All of them were doing what they loved to do and they died doing it,” said Shary Barnes. “We just want everybody to remember them.” 

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