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Mural honors those who served

by | November 7, 2019 5:00 am

Last Updated: November 6, 2019 at 12:05 pm

“Where Heroes Stood” found a home at 16 Wall St. in Yemassee the afternoon of Oct. 30.
The 12’x24’ foot mural, painted by Sophie Docalavich, celebrates the Yemassee train depot in the history of the U.S. Marine Corp.
“It celebrates the significance of the Yemassee railroad depot and the destinies of the 500,000 Marine recruits who passed through there from 1915 to 1966,” Docalavich proclaims on her website.
Docalavich was in Hilton Head. In 2006 her family moved to Estill, where she developed her talents by spending her days outside painting portraits of her chickens and goats. Today, her mural-covered chicken coop, visible from the highway, is something of a town landmark.
As a homeschooled student, she eschewed the traditional classroom for experiential learning. As she explored the coastal towns of Charleston, Beaufort and Savannah, she became fascinated by the beauty of the buildings, parks and architecture of the Lowcountry.
Now a working artist, her unique use of color to convey mood and energy in otherwise ordinary subjects has made her a new artist to watch on the regional scene.
Hampton County Council Chairman Clay Bishop, who served as the master of ceremonies for the mural’s dedication ceremonies the afternoon of Oct. 30, told those gathered to celebrate the mural’s installation across from the depot — the path from idea to realization was not a direct line.
Bishop said the plan located a Yemassee site for the proposed mural, then lost it.
He took the problem to Yemassee officials and they told him, there was no problem — they had another site.
The town-owned building on Wall Street could accommodate the mural. Its location would fit in with the town’s plan to turn the adjacent vacant lot into a small park.
Then Bishop added, the original sponsor for the artwork backed out of the project. He took the new problem to Jacob “Jake” Sullivan.
“He knew I was a prior Marine, that my real estate company, Veteran Owned Real Estate, is tailored for working with veterans,” Sullivan said.
“Being a Marine I couldn’t pass it up. It is a great honor to the Marines of the past, to remember where we came from,” the Hampton-based realtor said. “I was very humbled and honored.”
The Bluffton native didn’t ride the train to Yemassee when he enlisted. He could have made to Parris Island on his own, “but they came and got me.” That ride to Parris Island took the long way, taking Sullivan by the train station before depositing him at the U.S. Marine Corp training center.
The work on the mural also received in kind support from Brunson Building Supply of Hampton and the Town of Yemassee.
Also speaking during the ceremony were Yemassee Mayor Colin Moore, and Yemassee residents Jannette Elliott Williams and Blake Borlick.
Marine veteran Darrell Russell of the Hampton County Toys for Tots conducted the invocation and Pledge of Allegiance.
During the ceremonies for “Where Heroes Stood,” Bishop said plans are in the works for two other Yemassee murals that city officials see as a part of the plan to resurrect the downtown area.

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