Dec. 27, 2015, El Paso, TX. – Fort Bliss has been transformed during the past decade from a quiet air-defense installation to a post housing an entire division.
A group of individuals with ties to El Paso and Fort Bliss is raising money to place four murals at the sprawling installation in three strategic locations.
The project, called Murals at Fort Bliss, seeks to connect the new breed of Fort Bliss soldiers to the El Paso community, organizers said. The murals will depict El Paso history and culture and tie that to back to the post, they added.
Lindsay Hamilton, a military spouse who was stationed at Fort Bliss in 2010-13, got the idea for the project while she was working on her doctoral degree at the University of Texas at El Paso.
The group needs to raise about $200,000 to do all four murals, said Hamilton, the founder and project manager for the effort. Murals would be placed at the food court at Freedom Crossing, 1611 Haan Road; Soto Physical Fitness Center, 20751 Constitution Ave.; and the Mendoza Soldier Family Care Center, 11335 Staff Sgt. Sims Road. Soto gym would get two murals.
“It’s to give the soldier population and their families a real taste and feel of what the community of El Paso is all about,” said John Baily, CEO Tigua Inc. and President of the Omar Bradley chapter of the Association of the U.S. Army. Baily is one of about a half-dozen key organizers for the project.
When the post was primarily an air-defense installation, soldiers and their families – known affectionately as boomerangs – would come back and be stationed here numerous times. The dynamic has changed, however, since the 1st Armored Division relocated here from Germany in 2011. Many soldiers and their families are now coming here for the first time and their only experience with El Paso may be the two years they are stationed here, Hamilton said.
The murals can also be used to encourage El Pasoans to visit the post and see firsthand what is going on at Fort Bliss, Hamilton added.