Against a backdrop of stark, modular military structures at Camp Atterbury sits the United Services Organizations Inc. building. The recently renovated building, with its plush leather chairs, video-game stations and fully equipped kitchen provides a bit of a home away from home for active and retired military members.
It is here that Columbus artist Jeri Cannon, a USO volunteer since April, and USO event co-coordinator Tanya Fells have set up shop for Boots and Brushes, a monthly program that provides the opportunity for soldiers to paint or draw pictures that can be mailed home to their families. Armed with dozens of tubes of paint and a giant bucket of multi-sized brushes, they wait for their first volunteer.
“I thought we were going to paint boots,” joked Philip Garner, 19, of Hickory, N.C. Garner is preparing to be deployed for a 10-month tour to Egypt some time in the next few weeks, and plans on sending his painting home to his 15-year-old brother.