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By Michelle Robosky
A group of 10 University of Cincinnati students from an honors seminar “Leaders in Action” taught by Dr. Marla Hall spent the day at the Joseph House in Over the Rhine Saturday May 21. The Joseph House provides housing for homeless veterans as well as services for residents recovering from addictions. The class, comprised of students in various fields of study, requires the creation and completion of a community service project to integrate the skills studied. Brainstorming for the project began at the start of spring quarter and evolved from a block party idea into a mural idea. Everything fell into place to work with the Joseph House and the timing was also ideal as the painting was completed the weekend prior to Memorial Day.
The mural features the emblems for all five military branches designed as medals. The ribbon portions serve as an invitation for all the residents who pass through the Joseph House to sign their names on their respective branch’s ribbon. The students wanted this to be a piece of art that celebrates the veterans’ service along with providing a history of those who are aided by the Joseph House. Ely Beyer, one of the students who designed the mural said, "It was very rewarding to engage veterans in a work of art that not only celebrated their courage, but would be enjoyed in their common area, to be seen as a constant reminder of how much their sacrifices are appreciated."
The day was not only special to the students carrying out the project but to the veterans as well. A member of the class, Dan Zerhusen, said one of the members of the Joseph House told him he really appreciated the students putting on the event because many kids are too busy getting in trouble instead of doing something productive. The day was full if mingling and painting as the students took care of the painting on the wall while the veterans worked on the detailed emblem medallions and cooked up lunch for everyone involved.
Student Kylie Leahy reflected on the event and said, “It felt really good to come together as a community. I would have never met these amazing veterans otherwise. We worked together to create something beautiful and shared personal stories along the way.”
Members of the UC and Cincinnati communities are invited to attend a short presentation on this service project on Monday June 6 at 7:00 p.m. in room 427 of the Engineering Research Center building at the University of Cincinnati.