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Prospective Recruit Shows Respect Through Winning Artwork

By Sharon Foster
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 18, 2009 – A high school student and prospective Marine Corps recruit from Lewisville, Texas, has turned his respect and admiration for servicemembers into award-winning art.

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Luis G. Hernandez’s sculpture titled “The True Five Stars” took first place in an art contest conducted by the SemperComm Foundation, a Virginia-based troop-support organization. Hernandez, a high school senior, plans to join the Marine Corps. Courtesy photo

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Luis G. Hernandez, a 12th-grade high school student, was the winner of the 2009 SemperComm Art Competition this year.

The SemperComm Foundation, a Virginia troop-support group, is dedicated to supplying morale-boosting communications and entertainment equipment, software and services to small and remote, overseas military bases.

“We started the art competition five years ago to provide a creative outlet for high school students to show support and appreciation for the sacrifices made by U.S. servicemembers,” Lara Coffee, SemperComm Foundation executive director, said.

The competition’s theme, “Five Stars,” symbolizes the highest and rarest U.S. military rank ever held, representing the five virtues of men and women in uniform: honor, compassion, respect, responsibility and courage, Coffee said.

Students from across the country were asked to submit entries reflecting the Five Stars theme. They used various forms of media, including photography, illustration, mixed media and sculpture. Graphic design, advertising and digital media, including animation, Web design and motion work, were added to the media options for this year.

“My SemperComm project was only a small token of my gratitude to the armed forces,” Hernandez said. “My respect and appreciation for the military cannot be expressed enough.”

Hernandez’s unique entry, “The True Five Stars,” was a welded sculpture that started out with a long piece of copper tubing, cut in half, into which he cut “USA” and the names of each military service.

“Metal and copper can’t be welded, so it had to be braised,” Hernandez said. “After the branches were on the copper cannons, I cut a rectangular piece of diamond plate, which I welded to four-inch steel. I finished off the project with painting and clear coating. The six cannons represent the protection for this country. Each cannon holds a branch of the military.”

He said he added “USA” in the middle to show the country being protected by the services.

Hernandez received a certificate of appreciation for his artwork and an invitation to a future SemperComm event.

Hernandez, who plans to join the Marine Corps later this year, is glad he had the opportunity to participate in the competition.

“The USA represents compassion and respect, along with all the men and women that serve as police officers or help out the community in a major way,” Hernandez said. “A lot of pride went into my piece.”

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