August 23, 2022 at 1:03 p.m.

Lincolnton Mural Honors National Guard

A message of patriotism writ large upon a downtown wall
Lincolnton Mural Honors National Guard
Lincolnton Mural Honors National Guard

Thomas Lark- | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

LINCOLNTON––It’s all about patriotism and honoring local military personnel, past and present.

It’s a mural, painted by local artist Richie Rhyne and honoring Lincolnton’s chapter of the North Carolina National Guard. It’s painted upon the brick façade of an historic building on Aspen Street in downtown Lincolnton.

On Sunday, Matthew Craig, a spokesman for this effort, told The Herald more.

How did the mural come about? About two years ago, whilst assigned as the Lincolnton-based Army National Guard recruiter, Craig was working closely with retired U.S. Army colonel Robbie Robbins, the Guard’s liaison for high schools in western North Carolina.  

“We were sitting in my office one day, discussing recruiting and what it took to be a soldier,” as Craig recalled. “It was at this meeting that we came up with the idea of the mural. We wanted to do something to honor the men and women of our city’s unit, who volunteered to protect this great nation over the years throughout the unit’s history.”

He also expressed appreciation to the City of Lincolnton and Lincoln County government.

“The City and the County have always been extremely welcoming and kind to our National Guard unit and its soldiers,” he said. “Having myself started working in the Alpha Battery First of the 113th Field Artillery in July of 2012, I knew the City supported us. But the public didn’t really know how the community leadership felt, and a lot of the soldiers that came and went didn’t really know how much the City/County leadership did for us behind the scenes.

“Mr. Robbins and I took the idea to Dr. Jim Watson, who was a member of the Lincolnton City Council,” Craig continued. “He has been amazing to work with and a real driving force in this project. Our idea, which was drawn on a PowerPoint slide initially, came to life, because Doc Watson believed in us. He gave us the audience with the city council and backed our plan from the second we spoke to him. If I recall correctly, Doc said, ‘Well, gentlemen, this is a great idea that will stand the test of time. You have my support.’ Once we were approved by the council, his help and support did not stop.  It took his knowledge and direction for this idea to become reality.”

Lincoln County, as Craig observed, is definitely a place that honors its military personnel.

“At this point,” he said, “there is no question how our community feels about its soldiers. Our intent was to honor the men and women who were willing to put on the uniform and serve. But now the project has turned into something more. Almost instantly, it turned into something much larger than us. I think it has provided perspective to those who may not understand the unit’s magnitude and capabilities. I also feel it has already begun to build a sense of pride for the unit and the community.  I know for a fact that a Denver Charter School student drove past the mural with her father and asked him about his time in the Alpha Battery.”

And speaking on behalf of all those involved in making the mural a reality, Craig extended gratitude to the project’s donors, both individuals and businesses:

  • the City of Lincolnton;
  • Lincoln County Government;
  • Dr. Jim Watson;
  • the Lincolnton Tag Office (the N.C. Department of Motor Vehicles);
  • United Rentals and Mattney Burgin, whose help was extremely important, especially in donating the lift service to make the mural possible;
  • Dale Punch, a prominent local veteran, for his co-ordinated efforts with United Rentals;
  • Lincolnton Masonic Lodge No. 137;
  • painter Richie Rhyne;
  • Man Cave Barbershop;
  • Magic Cleaners
  • the Barbecue King;  
  • Fausto Coffee;
  • the Carolina Roller Supply Company;
  • Good Wood Pizza;
  • Dave’s Auto;
  • Robbie Robbins;
  • Joel Dalton;
  • and finally and most importantly, all current and former American military personnel.

“We are awaiting approval from the Lincolnton City Council to officially unveil the mural, hopefully Sept. 12 or 13,” Craig added. “We are planning on asking a couple of JROTC classes to supply a few uniformed students. We are working on a speaker to say a few words and a few soldiers from the unit to be on the ground that day.”

He encouraged the public to stay tuned for more details, coming soon.



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