Sunday, September 18, 2016

Portrait of a Veteran Photo Project Exhibit at the Fairmont Opera House

A collection of more than 24 images from the on-going Portrait of a Veteran Photo Project are currently on display in the Arneson Gallery of Light upstairs in the Fairmont Opera House. During the past weekend (Sept.16 & 17), the Opera House celebrated it's 35 year anniversary of huge the renovation that turned the old theater into the performing arts and community showpiece it is today.

Many guests visited the gallery during the Friday and Saturday evening open house events to experience the local veteran's images.

Most who viewed the work were moved. One man fought back tears as he stared at a veteran's portrait. Another said looking at the faces of the veterans gave him chills up and down his arms. Others openly expressed gratitude for these local military heroes and the sacrifices and service they gave to our Country.

The exhibit continues through the first week of October 2016. The Gallery is open to the public weekdays from 9 am to 2 pm, and during public events and performances at the venue. 

A big "Thank You!" to those individuals and businesses who helped make this exhibit possible with generous cash donations.

Images and Stories © 2016 Joseph Kreiss Photography.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Bernard Reilly

Age 96
Born in Lone Rock, Iowa on family farm in 1919
Currently lives in Swea City, Iowa
U.S. Marine Corps World War II Veteran

It was November 1941, just three weeks before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, taking the United States in to World War II, when 21-year-old Bernard Reilly enlisted into the U.S. Marines. He was following his brother's footsteps.

After boot camp, Reilly joined up with the 10th Marines artillery battalion and headed to the South Pacific aboard the transport ship USS President Jackson. Reilly said the cargo ship was ill-equipped to defend herself against enemy attack. “So the Marines set up .50 caliber machine guns on the fantail,” he recalled.

“We came under attack and the Marine shot down a Jap(enese) plane, a torpedo bomber and turned away others. If it wasn't for the Marines we'd been swimming.” Reilly said. The skipper of the ship was so grateful he gave each Marine who had manned a gun a crisp $10 bill. “At the time, that was a half month's pay for us,” Reilly said.