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War veteran commemorates fallen soldiers and family members with cat statues

MUNCIE, In. (NewsLink) — When you take a drive down Tillotson Avenue in Muncie, you might come across a few large cat decorations. But don’t worry, these cats aren't after their next meal.

These figurines belong to Vietnam Air Force veteran William Hutcherson. 

"Anytime I say, home of the cats, everybody knows...the home of the cats,” exclaimed  Hutcherson. 

These cats are more than just decorations. When Hutcherson was discharged from the Air Force because of a disability, he wanted something to commemorate those who paid the ultimate sacrifice to our country.

“I remember figurines. That’s the first thing that came to mind. And that’s when I started putting figurines out in my yard.”

Each big cat carries different meanings and representations. Family members, fallen soldiers, and even life lessons.

One of those lessons--kindness to all. Something Hutcherson reflects on with a not-so-kind encounter with racism as a soldier. 

“I went into a cafe and I said, 'I want a coke' and the man [at the counter] said, 'We don’t serve colored people.' I turned around and walked out,” recalled Hutcherson.

Hutcherson said kindness goes a long way, especially when it's something he fought for. Nowadays, you can find Hutcherson tending to his statues, occasionally repainting them and leaving a lasting reminder in memory of those who fought for our freedom. 

“This is a free country, and everyone should be looking out for one another,” said Hutcherson.

For any comments or concerns, please contact aalmanza@bsu.edu.