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How a new Peoria Heights sculpture keeps a daughter and father connected

How a new Peoria Heights sculpture keeps a daughter and father connected
How a new Peoria Heights sculpture keeps a daughter and father connected(How a new Peoria Heights sculpture keeps a daughter and father connected)
Published: May. 28, 2022 at 7:28 PM CDT
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PEORIA (Heart of Illinois ABC) - Dozens gathered Saturday for the unveiling of an artwork that represents the strength of those who served in the military.

“I decided to make this about raising awareness of veteran suicide and how art helped me and how it was therapeutic and how to try to teach other veterans to use it as therapy,” Founder of 22 VA Michael Ragan said.

Nearly eight years ago, 22 Veteran Artists wanted to come up with a way to help other veterans cope with the hardships they faced postwar. Founder Michael Ragan said they used the power of art to do that

“To be able to show veterans, don’t feel like you’re worthless, don’t feel like you’re not useful. All these bicycles were going to go in the trash but we decided to make something beautiful out of them,” Ragan said.

The sculpture - Roy G Biv - was made out of old bicycle parts - at the top, a special bike sat -- a bright red 70′s huffy bike with a unique story.

“He said Krissy, this is incredible, you’re not going to believe me,” Krissy Short said. “He said your dad gave me that bike.”

David Petrakis died on April 21st of 2022.

He was a Vietnam veteran, a father and an avid collector. Petrakis met Ragan at an auction. He was moved by the vision of 22 VA and donated one of his bikes to the project.

Little did he know, the bike would be on display at the library where his daughter worked, at the Peoria Heights Library.

“To pull into my workplace parking lot and see that little red bike. He’s here with me and I think that has helped me find some sort of healing through this grief,” Short said,

Krissy Short now had a piece of her father looking over her every day

“He was the first call if we needed help. So for him to be at the very top. I’m a little biased. Families a little biased, he was the top guy. He was the best.”

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