Our Town

Shirley Case subject of newest mural

Local resident Taylor Stusrud was invited to help paint the new mural at the 100 Mile House Community Hall on July 10. The mural is in honour of Shirley Case, an aid worker from 100 Mile House who was killed in Afghanistan in 2008.     - Martina Dopf photo
Local resident Taylor Stusrud was invited to help paint the new mural at the 100 Mile House Community Hall on July 10. The mural is in honour of Shirley Case, an aid worker from 100 Mile House who was killed in Afghanistan in 2008.
— image credit: Martina Dopf photo

The latest mural in 100 Mile House, located on the front wall on the 100 Mile Community Hall, features Shirley Case, a local resident who was tragically killed in 2008 while doing humanitarian work in Afghanistan.

Just 31 years old when she died, Shirley had dedicated her life to helping children in third-world countries through education and improving living conditions.

100 Mile House Mural Society member Donna Nivison says the group came up with the idea because Shirley was such a worthy candidate for honouring in a mural.

"We approached the family, and they agreed that it would be nice, and we went from there through all the steps it take to have one happen."

It has actually been years to bring this mural to fruition, and the society was "thrilled" with the design when they saw it, she adds.

"It is quite stunning and striking, actually.

"It's different to have a young person on the mural. And she, too, gave her life for doing good things."

Shirley's mother, 100 Mile House resident Deb Case, says she and her husband, Alec, are pleased to have their daughter and her life as a humanitarian as the focus of the lovely new mural.

The mural not only honours Shirley, but also highlights the good work she did to people who might not know otherwise, she notes.

Deb hopes the mural brings awareness, since things like having access to a good education could be better understood and appreciated in Canada.

"Hopefully it will make people think about how they can help others. There is a whole world out there where we can do it.

"Even simple things like having running water we take for granted ... but it is still huge to some people."

The mural images are quite representative of the countries Shirley visited and the children she helped, Deb adds. Along with the overall design, they were chosen with the approval of Alec and Deb, as well as the mural society.

"I thought is was great."

Williams Lake artist Dwayne Davis painted the mural with a design he arranged from a family photo of Shirley, and several others she had taken herself in Africa (including Nigeria and Chad), Nicaruaga and in Afghanistan.

"I worked up a collage showing all the different people and ... mainly a lot of the children that she worked with in the underprivileged area.

"Even looking at the pictures you can tell she would have been an amazing person just to sit down with and talk to."

Dwayne says what he learned about Shirley's life in researching for the mural was quite inspiring.

"I'm quite happy to get the opportunity to work on the picture that is that meaningful."

Not part of the mural yet, but in the society's plans to add on soon, is a picture of children helping to build the Shirley Case school in Nicaragua in 2011.

Shirley's friend, Jessica Chaikowsky, had brainstormed the idea for the school and teamed up with Canadian-founded company SchoolBOX to see it become a reality.

She and other caring folks in the community successfully fundraised for the school, and Deb and Alec, along with Karen Cleave and Brenda Webber (who were good friends of Shirley's) all travelled to Nicaragua to help build it.

Donna explains the mural society is now accepting donations in order to extend the mural further south along the front wall.

"At this point the mural society has roughly enough to cover the picture Dwayne is working on, but we are hoping for donations ... that would allow us to include a small addition, of the [school]."

Many people in the South Cariboo financially contributed to building the school, which is also Shirley's legacy, and might appreciate seeing the building of it featured on the mural, she notes.

Donna says the society hopes to have the funds to complete the extension soon, so for anyone considering a donation, now is a good time.


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