Dover American Legion post gets Stars and Stripes makeover

DOVER — Artist Scott LoBaido of Staten Island, New York, aims to make sure veterans in every state sees his appreciation for their valor while at the same time he indulges in his passion for painting flags and celebrating America.

Not just veterans, however, can enjoy his artistic flair. Drivers are sure to do a double take at the sight of the American flag that now covers one wall of American Legion Walter L. Fox Post 2 at 835 S. Bay Road.

The artist selected the post as the Delaware canvas for his Fifty State Tour. When he’s done later this month he will have painted Old Glory on one VFW building or American Legion post in 49 states. He started Feb. 20 in North Carolina and aims to finish Aug. 20.

He will make a special trip to the 50th state, Hawaii, to time the painting with Pearl Harbor Day in December.
Fox Post 2 Commander Dave Moore said the post was fortunate to be selected.

“They contacted us,” Mr. Moore said before the dedication, explaining the mural didn’t cost the post anything, thanks to tour sponsors Home Depot and Behr.

Employees from the Dover Home Depot store prepped and primed the wall Friday and Saturday before Mr. LoBaido’s arrival in Dover on Sunday. A bit of spackling and the first coat of primer went up Friday. Team Depot, store associates who volunteer for community projects, returned on Saturday to finish up, including trimming hedges.

Domminique Elliott, of Dover, is manager of the paint department in Home Depot and was among those who prepped the wall.

“I love it,” she said minutes before the dedication Wednesday evening. “He did it so fast.”

She also was proud of Team Depot. “He said we did a good job priming his canvas,” she said.

No easy feat, perhaps, since the stucco exterior took more paint than a smooth surface so there was “a lot of mashing of the roller.”

The team also battled bees, disturbed from the hedges along the foundation,

“We got stung a few times,” Ms. Elliott said. The finished mural was worth the effort, though.

“He’s amazing.”

They also aim to revisit the post to add mulch to the landscaping and “pretty it up some,” said Murray Whittaker, manager of the Dover Home Depot.

“Have you seen it?” Mr. Whittaker asked a caller Wednesday, referring to the mural. “I’m blown away. It’s super inspirational.”

Mr. LoBaido’s website scottlobaido.com lists criteria when it comes to selecting each state’s site. It must have a “perfect exterior wall” and a location that fits into his route and schedule.

He began painting Monday and worked around the bees and the weather.

“I’m better than the meteorologists,” he said before the dedication. “I give myself enough time to finish before the rain comes.”

The paint takes about a half hour or less to dry.

Mr. LoBaido said he’s had an interesting six months, traveling the country in his colorfully painted SUV.

“I love it. I love the people. I love the country,” he said.

He also is passionate about giving thanks to the men and women who make his life as an artist possible, saying the veterans are the “one group of people who deserve special rights.”

Mr. Moore described Mr. LoBaido as “one of the most patriotic individuals” he has met, and, inspired by the Stars and Stripes painted on the wall, lead those gathered Wednesday in the pledge of allegiance to the flag waving high overhead.

“I was never tough and never cool,” Mr. LoBaido said during the dedication, but because he was humbled by the sacrifice of men and women in service he wanted to use the gift he was given to promote patriotism.

He also wanted to counter what he called “the taboo” of the flag 25 years ago.

“I wanted to bring that baby back to life,” he said.

From Dover, Mr. LoBaido heads south to Hurlock, Maryland, before finishing with a grand finale in Arlington, Virginia.

For more information on Mr. LoBaido, visit his website scottlobaido.com, or follow him on his travels via Twitter @ScottLoBaido.

Other sponsors of the tour are CitiQuiet and Stephen Siller Tunnel to Tower Foundation.

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