HALEYVILLE - What began as an expansion of the Haleyville High School nurse's station thanks to state windfall monies has led to a multi-faceted project displaying student talent as a memorial to Sr. Airman Mark Forester, a 1999 HHS graduate who was killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan in 2010.
The station of high school nurse Cindy Defoor had been needing expansion for some time, so extra windfall funds from the state allowed the office to double its size. The area where the office expanded was formerly a concession stand area.
After the expansion, school officials decided the bare wall was in need of a decorative trophy case to display not just sports honors but academic and other accolades throughout the school. The Mark Forester Foundation graciously made a donation to the school paying for the construction of the case. This led to an art contest, in which about 100 student submissions were received, after students had been asked to design a patriotic mural honoring Sr. Airman Forester on the wall above the trophy case.
Senior Anna Reyes won the contest, and painted her mural above the case. Mark's father Ray Forester was so impressed with Reyes' talent that he gave her a copy of the book My Brother In Arms: The Exceptional Life of Mark Andrew Forester that was penned by Mark's brother Thad Forester.
Reyes also joined High School Principal Davey Reed in placing a special plaque on the wall of the trophy case naming that area in honor of Mark Forester.
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.