Student answered Craigslist ad, became veteran's best friend

College of Miami structure scholar Emi Kopke nonetheless can’t consider her luck. She answered a Craiglist advert asking for an artist to do hand drawings for a particular challenge. The self-taught artist despatched in 15 of her hand drawings – together with a few of bones and bugs. Little did she know that the venture would lead her on the journey of a lifetime.

  • Scholar answered Craigslist advert, turned vet’s bf
  • Emi Kopke designed particular shirt for the Pearl Harbor survivor
  • John Seelie, ninety three, served within the Military with the twenty fifth Infantry Division

“I answered a Craiglist advert and have become one of the best pal of a ninety three-yr-previous man,” stated Kopke. Nevertheless it was not simply any ninety three-yr-previous. He was John Seelie, one of many final Pearl Harbor survivors, who had been stationed with the twenty fifth Infantry Division on that fateful day on Dec. 7, 1941, when Japan attacked the U.S. naval base in Hawaii, main the nation into World Struggle II.

And the commercial, which had been positioned by Seelie’s “buddy” Mike Cahill, was for an artist to design a shirt to doc Seelie’s life in order that he might put on it to the seventy fifth anniversary of Pearl Harbor. It was to be a shock.

“I needed this shirt to be magnificent,” stated Cahill, a retired developer who turned like a son to the veteran. “One thing that no different Pearl Harbor survivor would have.”

So, after assembly in a espresso store close to Venice, Florida, the place Seelie lived, Kopke with Cahill’s assist started an journey that might be each instructional and emotional. She meticulously researched Seelie’s life, and came upon that he was stationed in Pearl Harbor’s Schofield Barracks and was one of many first servicemen to view the assault by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service, even capturing on the planes earlier than taking cowl.

Kopke, who had by no means been a historical past buff, felt a pull towards Seelie. Cahill warned her: “When you begin this you need to end it. Whenever you end it your life may by no means be fairly the identical . for you may be uncovered to individuals and experiences you by no means dreamed potential. You’ll be a part of an prolonged household by way of the power, resilience and historical past of considered one of this nation’s dwelling nationwide treasures, you’ll really feel it, him. I consider (it) will go on after he leaves us.”

Thus started a journey to sketch a tapestry of the veteran’s life to be embroidered on a particular blue shirt that included a colourful lei made from hibiscus flowers to represent Hawaii. Kopke used an image of the Pearl Harbor hat worn by Seelie to repeat the font she would use to write down Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, and December 7, 2016. A proud American Eagle served because the centerpiece of the monogram.

On the again of the shirt, a hand tossing a coin recollects the best way Seelie gained the proper to serve in Hawaii, since a number of different servicemen needed the submit.

“And I felt that it will be necessary for him to take his household with him as nicely,” she stated.

Utilizing an image of Seelie’s late spouse’s signature for instance, she sketched the phrases, “With all my Love, Betty,” and she or he inserted a white flower…

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