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We were honored to hear from Chrystyna Kestler, mother of 1st Lt. Joseph Theinert, killed in action in Afghanistan in June 2010, about last week’s photo (see below): “Of course, I had to write in to let you know that the photo of the Joey heart is hanging in Chrissy Gross’s tree at 2 South Ferry Bed and Breakfast. Originally crafted in wood by Colleen Smith ( her son Joey E. and Joey T. were best friends since 1st grade) after our Joe was killed. The heart with stars surrounding Joey’s name has extra special significance as Joey’s birthday is Valentine’s Day. Unfortunately the wooden sign was damaged due to weather. As we all know the love that Shelter Island has shown our family, this new sign was lovingly created by local artist Hap Bowditch. How wonderful it is to see this as we drive by Chrissy’s house — and we reflect on the love and support that is continually given to us.
“Thank you for putting this photo in the paper right before Memorial Day.”
Frank Emmett also took the time to write, identifying the sign at Ms. Gross’s B & B. “That’s the ‘Joey in our hearts’ sign … It was created from the heart by my wife, Colleen Smith, for our beloved Joey Theinert (the bottom star in the heart, cut off in the picture, names his unit). The original sign was made of plywood, but kept getting damaged in windy weather, so Hap Bowditch kindly reproduced it in sturdy metal and we repainted it. The red and white lights wrapped around it were for Valentine’s Day, but we’re keeping them on at least through this month for all to see and remember. Thanks to Chrissy and Nick (who fixed the chains from which it hangs). And thanks to the Reporter for highlighting Joey this Memorial Day weekend.”