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York Artist Honors the Fallen - abc27 WHTM

York Artist Honors the Fallen

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Even in the middle of winter, Cher Kondor finds comfort at the Gold Star Healing and Peace Garden in York.

"This is like a little tool in the tool box of healing. So, it has a purpose," explained Kondor as we walked along the Garden's winding brick and stone walkway. "It has a function. It's not just here to look pretty."

The living monument to all who have served in the U.S. Military became Kondor's dream after her son, Army SPC Martin Kondor, was killed in Iraq ten years ago. The garden's central fountain and ornamental flowers sit silent for the season, but the year-round message on the surrounding wall of honor is loud and clear.

"We have 287 Pennsylvania fallen," said Kondor, pointing to rows of names etched into the surrounding black granite walls. "And then we have the wall that has York County fallen on it."

Meanwhile, across town, artist Ed Van Wicklen is doing his part for the Honor Garden, with a paint brush.

"For me, that just makes me feel very good that I am helping in some way," said Van Wicklen.

For the second year in a row, Van Wicklen's artistic talent will help defray costs of installation and maintenance of the two year old garden. His aeriel depiction of the grounds will be raffled off at the upcoming Pennsylvania Garden Show of York to benefit the Gold Star Garden, the show's adopted charity.

"These are people we are honoring," reflected Van Wicklen. "We want to show our respect for them and that we care about them."

Throughout the weekend of the Pennsylvania Garden Show, Van Wicklen will paint a live version of the Gold Star Garden, also to be raffled off.

Condor says additional plans for the Gold Star Garden are in the works, but for now, they're taking things a step at a time.

"I am deeply grateful and humbled that the community has come together in such a warm and giving way to make all this happen," said Condor.

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