Hometown Hero Honors Veterans Through Artwork

By Melanie Chapman | mchapman@kolr10.com

Published 06/11 2014 08:48PM

Updated 06/12 2014 06:27PM

BUFFALO, Mo. -- A marine found a way to continue giving back and he hopes to honor, pay tribute and inspire past and present veterans through his artwork.

Eric Cook's artwork is driven mostly by his experiences in Iraq. He’s a Marine who served two tours of duty.

Eric has a gift of telling stories through his airbrushing and he's sharing his gift with fellow veterans past and present at Amvets building in Buffalo.

"I enjoy it,” he says. “I enjoy them being able to. For me to share my artwork with them as well to give them something they can be proud of and to remind other people that, you know, there's others still serving today, you know the previous veterans as well honoring them."

Eric started with this memorial outside the club, but the Amvets manager said he was taken aback by the beauty of the work and wanted to see more from Eric.

“This is a veterans club and I wanted to be able to honor and decorate our veterans past and present,” says Vietnam Veteran Jeff Endlund.

So, Eric created a mural. He hopes to connect all generations of the military.

It’s more than just a meeting place; it’s a place where the men and women who served our country come for support and where citizens show appreciation.

“Being able to talk to older veterans as well has been a good experience for me,” says Eric. “Because they can share some of their stories with me. And I know that you know that they, they're able to kind of help me cope; deal with some of the stuff I've dealt with. Understand some of the things I might be going through in my life."

Eric's mural won't stop here. He’ll expand his artwork along this wall and his inspiration will come from veterans past and present.

"You notice that the Vietnam veteran and you now more so, Korean War veteran,” says Eric. “The symbolization there kind of passes into, you see him with his hand on his shoulder and basically what that is he's got his back knowing that every veteran in the past has passed that information on so that the newer generations of soldiers can gain knowledge from it."

The Amvets center also does a lot of fundraising for members of the military and the community.

The manager says they've raised enough money to help send 10 local veterans on the honor flights of the Ozarks.

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