Doris Marlene, a leather craftswoman from Isanti, recently donated a tribute to veterans crafted of leather to the St. Cloud VA.
The art work is amazingly detailed and features the service seals of each of the armed forces, the Department of Veterans Affairs seal, and a raised relief emblem of an eagle as the centerpiece.
Marlene donated the work to the St. Cloud VA because she wanted other veterans to be able to see and appreciate it. Simply put, the art is her way of saying, “thank you,” Marlene said.
Marlene was motivated to create the art as a way to say thanks to all veterans who have served their nation in the armed forces.
“Everyone should recognize their service,” Marlene said.
In explaining the work, Marlene said she has been around veterans her entire life, and has been heavily influenced by the service and stories of her father, two brothers, and fiancée.
Her father, TSgt Nicholas M. Kichler, served in the U.S. Army Air Corps as a gunner on bomber planes in Europe during World War II, where he completed over 30 missions. Her brother, Donald N. Kichler, served in the Army during the Vietnam War. Another brother, David L. Kichler, served in the U.S. Air Force in the early 1970s. Her fiancée, Harry F. Northcutt, served 15 years in the U.S. Navy, beginning in the mid-1970s.
The service seals and the background flag are tooled from a single piece of leather. The raised relief eagle and flags in the center were created from two pieces of leather, and then applied to the background. Marlene said that the eagle took five attempts before she was satisfied with the results.
In accepting the donation, Patricia Aljets, Chief of Voluntary Services at the St. Cloud VA, said, “We are thrilled to receive this wonderful donation. The level of detail in the artwork reflects the love and devotion with which it was made.”
The St. Cloud VA plans to permanently display the art in the atrium of Building 8, where it will be available for veterans and visitors to view and admire.