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Keeping Up With Maury
The US Army Plaque
by Maury Feren

Sometimes you can really be fooled by first impressions. We all know that from past experiences but it always come up and you fell to recognize your past mistakes.

It isn't often that people ask me if I am a war veteran. So here is how the story goes. I am coming out of the University Hospital valet service and I ran into this beat up looking man who looked I would say non described. Incidental the University hospital valet service is good. In and out in about 10 minutes. You have read my past experience at the Clinic so you know the difference.

Anyway, I am sitting in a wheelchair waiting for the pick up of my car Beverly, my personal assistant is right there with me after he approached me his first question was "Are you a veteran?". I am I said so is Beverly. She served 6 years in Korean many years ago. I also gave him a general run down of my army experiences in WWII. So it felt OK to hear his story.

He said my name is Dave Mapes I have a business on Mayfield Rd and my hobby is to make wood plaques to veterans all over the world no matter where they are. He elaborated on the wood he use and described how he makes these plaques. I couldn't imagine what they were even after the description. I visualized a piece of board with all the information on it that represented veterans. From the looks of him I just listened until our valeted car came up a few minutes later. All he had time left to say was "I'm right on Mayfield Rd. a little before you come up to Cave Rd.

I did not think much of it at all. My first impressions confirmed my believes he said he had sent out thousands of these plaques stop and pick up one for each of you anytime you go by. From his description I know where it was. Normally we don't go near there this time of year but on December 15 the weather was heading to 50 degrees. Accidentally we went for a long ride heading to Chesterland. We passed his business store and Beverly went in to the office of this green house business.

He came out to see us carrying two beautiful plaques which I will describe. I was astonished. These plaques were beautiful. There colorful patterns knocked me off my feet. They were made of a soft wood, shellac to a high light brown with a base 1212 in. It was covered with a large United Stated army insignia made of fine quality. It was circular with a marble white trim reading the name "United States Army".

The center insignia reads like the exact pattern that shows when the president speaks at the white house. It has a contrasting wood base looking like a trim at the bottom of the plaque. There is a beautiful red, white and blue ribbon tided to perfection. In the top corner up have 2-3 carnation type flowers (artificial) followed by a large center red flower similar in size. These are done in perfect symmetry. At the bottom of this plaque printed in a white block you can read the following "Your country thanks you for your service and sacrifice. We will never forget you."

Since I never got out of my car he came out and talked to use in length about his veteran background. He had served in the navy as a machinist mate. For some reason he was determined to serve as many veterans as he could. He said to me all I ask of you is a small donation enough to buy material. His passion came out in every word that he spoke. He also showed us a big plaque he had created for a major veteran building in Indiana. They rejected the plaque on some unreasonable idea claiming they would be infectious.

We spent a half hour or more listening to his story. He claimed that he had provided 4,000 plaques so far that he has sent out to veterans. After I had seen the plaques and heard his story I had a totally different picture of who he was. Even though he was dressed the same way unshaven and somewhat disheveled. He was the MAN. Someone who has dedicated himself to make the world a better place, at least for the veterans.

Interestingly there are different veterans organization army, navy, WWII, air force, Iraq, Afghanistan. All of these veterans are from different generation but they have a common bond. One of service and sacrifice. They all come together on this plaque because it tells a mutual story.

You can reach Dave by calling Dave Mapes at 7558 Mayfield Rd. Chesterland, Ohio 44026 phone number 440-708-3742 email:

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