Winthrop University: Winthrop Freshman’s Mural Work Honors Veterans
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Winthrop Freshman’s Mural Work Honors Veterans

November 12, 2020

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Raina Michelle Bryant is a freshman middle level education major from Lexington.
  • Depicted in 16 portraits, “The American Red, White, and Blue” showcases American soldiers throughout the nation’s history, from its founding to the 21st century, as they protect democracy and freedom.

ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA -- Each Nov. 11, the United States celebrates Veterans Day, honoring all of those who have served the country in war or peacetime.  

Winthrop University freshman Raina Michelle Bryant wants to make sure those veterans are honored on all days – not just one.   

The middle level education major made headlines this year with her Girl Scout project: designing and painting the Lexington (South Carolina) VFW Post.   

Depicted in 16 portraits, “The American Red, White, and Blue” showcases American soldiers throughout the nation’s history, from its founding to the 21st century, as they protect democracy and freedom.   

“I painted this mural to help others understand that we have been fighting for our freedom a long time,” Bryant said. 

Bryant found inspiration from her father, Gene, who is retired from the U.S. Army and runs Battle Buddy 4 Life, a nonprofit that helps veterans seek counseling and other non-monetary needs.   

In fact, Gene is so proud of his daughter’s mural that Bryant joked he’s already planning to put her to work during Winthrop’s holiday break: She’ll be adding new murals to the post’s other walls.   

It took Bryant more than 100 hours to design, sketch and paint the mural. Her work has earned her the Girl Scout’s highest badge, the Gold Award, given to scouts who “tackle issues that are dear to them and drive lasting change in their communities and beyond.”  

Bryant joined Girl Scout Troop 2316 13 years ago as a kindergartener.   

“It was one of those things where your mom signed you up to see if you liked it,” Bryant joked. “I loved it, because I made new friends and I could be myself.”   

“We lose so many loved ones in wartime,” she continued. “Soldiers are making sure we have our rights and that they aren’t taken away from us. Sometimes, I feel like people forget that our freedom isn’t free. There are many men and women who fight for it every day.”   

On the more local scale, Bryant hopes to make a difference as a middle school teacher.   

“My family had so many problems with bullying and other circumstances at school,” she said. “I want to change the way schools handle it...Change students’ lives and make sure they know they’re not alone in the world and that they have a safe place.” 

For more information, contact Nicole Chisari, communications coordinator, at 803/323-2236 or email chisarin@winthrop.edu.

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Last Updated: 10/4/21