MATTOON — Near the water of Lake Paradise, a local commercial painter has created a tribute to a father and son who both served on the high seas with the U.S. Navy.
Accent Pro Painting owner Brian Drake of Mattoon has painted a Quonset shed on the Taylor family farm in the Navy colors of blue and gold in honor of veterans Wallace Taylor and his son, Zach. He also has affixed two plaques detailing their service records to this structure, along with ship’s bells.
Drake said he learned about the Navy history of these two men and got the idea for saluting them after being hired by Wallace Taylor’s other son, Jason, to paint the house and the more than 107-year-old barn on his family’s farm on the west side of Lake Paradise.
“Once I showed (Jason Taylor) the idea, he just let me run with it. I had to pay respect to the veterans,” said Drake, who is a U.S. Army veteran and served in Operation Desert Storm. The painter added that he completed this as a surprise in time for Veterans Day on Nov. 11.
To complete the plaques, Drake quizzed Zach Taylor about the service records for him and his father during a phone call. Zach Taylor, who served in the Navy from 1983-2013 and retired as a captain, said he just thought Drake had a general interest in their service and did not realize what he had planned for the shed.
“I am glad. I didn’t know he was doing that.