Gold Star mother, artist aim to finish mural by Fourth of July to honor late soldier

Local News

LUBBOCK, Texas — One Gold Star mother and a local mural artist are working together to paint a mural in honor of soldier Caleb Smither at the Auto Glass Company located off Texas and 19th street.

Smither was a paratrooper with Ft. Bragg’s 82nd Division. He was found dead in his barracks in January 2020. Since then, his Heather Baker said she is still searching for answers.

“There’s still a lot of questions that still have no answer and the more answers that we did get, that just lead to more questions,” said Baker. “Enough is enough. I can’t sit here in Lubbock, Texas in the comfort of my own home, knowing I can speak out and help save a few more soldiers.”

Baker said her son’s death along with the death of other soldiers on American soil have led her to think anything can happen and be covered up.

‘When you look at Vanessa Guillen’s cover up, when you look at Greggory Morales… Enrique Roman Martinez from Fort Bragg, who actually literally lost his head, said Baker, “I know these families [and] we need our communities.”

Baker said the mural is a way for the Lubbock community to support her son and build a team to inspire kids to want to be valiant heroes.

Angelo Ramirez, artist at THT designs, said he had followed Smither’s story through his wife Amy Ramirez who used to work with Baker.

“[We] made a home visit to [Heather] just a couple of weeks ago and in Caleb’s room, I promise you I could feel Caleb pulling on me saying, ‘Man you’ve gotta do a good job for me,” said Ramirez

Ramirez said he hopes the mural brings awareness to the wellbeing of soldiers.

“I think it’s important to make sure that we are watching them. That they’re protected while on base,” said Ramirez, “We’re not here to bash anything, it’s more about being held accountable.”

The wall will be divided into two parts, featuring Caleb on one side and on the other a set of wings with a quote from Caleb. They’re hoping to have the mural finished by the Fourth of July Weekend and are asking the public for donations.

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