MESA – At the Copperstate Fly-in in Mesa, it was more about planes than art, but for a Phoenix man, he is combining the best of both worlds.
Rodney Jarrell’s plane is a flying a work of art, one that honors our nation’s heroes.
“I always felt the guys were not getting enough respect and have never gotten enough respect,” he said. “My favorite painting on the plane is probably Chesty Puller from the Marines.”
Jarrell flies around the country to show it off. On this Veterans Day weekend it is no exception. He is at the 2016 Nellis Air Show in Las Vegas, hoping to meet the only living person memorialized on the plane.
The single engine Vans RV 10 is unique because it is painted to honor veterans and those who have died fighting for the United States. Pat Tillman, a former professional football player and Army veteran who was killed in Afghanistan, is featured on the plane, along with other notable figures from our military.
For Tim Clark, a former Marine and Jarrell’s friend, the plane is special.
“I don’t think words can sum it up,” Clark said. “From the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on the hood, to each branch, it’s just amazing.”
Clark joins Jarrell at many of these fly-ins, to help put it on display and honor our veterans.
“It’s just been an incredible relationship,” Clark said. “He’s so generous. To do all this for veterans, even though he didn’t serve in the military, he’s giving back, he’s a true patriot.”
The goal is to share it with as many people as possible and many are responding.
“We wouldn’t have a country without the military and we owe them a big debt,” said Bernie Gross. “Here’s an individual who’s gone out of his way, created and built, a living display.”
For Jarrell it is all worth it when he sees the veteran’s face when they realize the plane is honoring them.
“I’ve had some tearful moments, lots of hugs, from the veterans,” Jarrell said. “They thank me for coming out and actually showing people what they’ve been through.”
A history lesson in time, forever imprinted on a plane, to make sure we never forget where we came from and where we are going.
For more information on the plane or find out when it will be near click here.