Salutes & Awards

June 14, 2012

Local children honored

Story and photos by Gustavo Bahena
Fort Irwin media relations officer

Regina Malan, a student at Tiefort View Intermediate School, poses in front of a mural of her artwork near Fort Irwin’s Exchange May 21. Malan was one of three winners of an Earth Day-themed art contest sponsored by Silver Valley Unified School District.

Three art murals and two young artists were praised during a ceremony at which Fort Irwin Garrison commander Col. Kurt Pinkerton recognized the creative achievements in front of family members, Soldiers, and leadership, May 21.

The murals, which were painted on shipping containers near The Exchange, began as artwork created by students on Fort Irwin and Yermo. The youngsters’ original artwork was duplicated as murals by Spc. Christopher Garrison, a clerk with the personnel office at 1916th Support Battalion, 916th Support Brigade. Garrison spent about three weeks enlarging the artwork to fit the side of the horizontal, metal containers.

Rylie Sims signs her name on a mural of her artwork in front of Fort Irwin’s Exchange May 21. Sims was one of three winners of an Earth Day-themed art contest sponsored by Silver Valley Unified School District.

The murals were painted after a Silver Valley Unified School District contest was held for students to create artwork that celebrated Earth Day and its significance. The winners from Fort Irwin schools were Rylie Sims of Lewis Elementary School and Regina Malan of Tiefort View Intermediate School.  The third winner was Taylor Lee of Yermo Elementary.

Regina, 11, drew her composition based on the message of “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.”

“I thought about what was important about Earth Day and what you need to do to help the earth,” Regina said.

Col. Kurt Pinkerton, Fort Irwin Garrison commander, presents Regina Malan with a coin May 21 in recognition of her win in an Earth Day-themed art contest sponsored by Silver Valley Unified School District as Rylie Sims, another contest winner, looks on.

Regina said she hopes her message reminds people to recycle and not pollute.  She recommends unplugging electronics when they’re not being used.  At home, Regina said her family recycles plastic water bottles.

Jahn Malana, Regina’s mother and teacher at Lewis Elementary School, said that the art contest gave children an opportunity to express their ideas and feelings about what’s going on with the Earth.

“The competition gives them an opportunity to showcase their talents and to promote the idea or the message of preserving the earth … to every other kid in the community,” Malana said.

The artwork of Tiefort View Intermediate School student Regina Malan, left, and of Lewis Elementary School student Rylie Sims, right, was enlarged on shipping containers in front of Fort Irwin’s Exchange after the girls won an Earth Day-themed art contest sponsored by Silver Valley Unified School District.

Garrison, who received an Army Commendation Medal for the mural work, said that displaying the children’s artwork on such a large scale shows that the community appreciates what the children created.

“It shows that the community cares about them too,” Garrison said. “And it’s also a confidence booster for them.”

Pinkerton said the mural art was an example of getting youth involved with the community. He would like to see more youth participation, either through existing youth programs or other endeavors. He stressed to the attendees of the ceremony to continue their involvement and to bring up new ideas.

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