Covington Ladies Home resident Mae Luster may have suspected something was up when she entered the dining room at CLH and saw so many of her kin gathered in one place. Just a regular Sunday visit with Granma? No, this time something much more. Now Mae has a big family and this place was crowded. All wished to honor Mae’s grandson, Marine Lance Corporal Justin Sims, 2003 Holmes High School graduate, who was killed in action in 2006 while serving our country in Iraq.

The reason for this event was the unveiling of an oil portrait of Justin, in full military dress, done by renowned local artist, Yvette LaFolette Mazza. Yvette is member of an artist group that each year selects a fallen American hero to honor with a portrait. We, and they, recognize Justin as this year’s hero.

Generations of Mae’s family, Lusters of all ages, gathered to remember and honor Justin, and to support Mae in this unveiling. Mae is a total red, white and blue patriot, and she keeps a scrapbook of military loved ones and friends who have served our country from Korea and through to the present. The day was particularly bittersweet because on this very date the family learned of their great loss.

Thanks to Pablo Rodriguez and Anthony Thurmann, who represented the United States Marine Corps at this special event honoring Justin, his service and his sacrifice. Others joining to acknowledge Justin and to support Mae included CLH Board members, fellow ladies home residents and staff.

Whenever troops are called to serve across the globe, let us remember that each one leaves behind a loving family and friends praying for their strength, their courage, and their safe return.

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