SFAC art depicts hope, homecoming in the healing process
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - Hank Cashen, left, accepts the painting "Coming Home" that Cindy Manga, right, created and donated to the Soldier and Family Assistance Center to show her appreciation of the care her husband and family received there, March 10.

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - Cindy Manga donated an oil painting to the Soldier and Family Assistance Center, here, entitled "Coming Home" to show her appreciation of the support her husband received after redeployment.

"The SFAC offers every aspect of what Soldiers and families need to survive in wake of the repercussions of what the Soldier saw and did," Manga said. "SFAC does a lot of good work taking care of Soldiers and families, and I wanted to help them get the attention they deserve."

Manga hadn't painted in 25 years but was motivated to honor the Soldiers and the SFAC.

It took one month for her to research and create the painting.

"It is a real tribute to the SFAC," said Gordon Takeshita, director, Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, under which the SFAC falls. "She used her talent as an artist to depict a Soldier coming home, uncertain as to his future. Through the assistance of the SFAC and all the programs that support our wounded warrior, he is now able to visualize a bright future with his family."

With a father who served in three wars and a grandfather who served in two, Manga is no stranger to the effects a war has on the Soldier and the family.

Manga said her childhood and her father's life wouldn't have been as hard if he had a support network like the SFAC to help him fight his demons. He felt he couldn't discuss his issues with his family, but he could talk for hours with other service members, according to Manga.

"War doesn't stop for the families," Manga said. "There are more casualties then what is on the battlefield.

"I can see how my children's life will be better since the SFAC gave my husband the tools he needed to survive what he saw and experienced."

Her husband, Sgt. 1st Class Leonard Manga, was injured in Iraq and returned to the Warrior Transition Battalion here.

His wish for the painting was that it would be universal; that anyone looking at it could relate. So Manga painted the service member facing away from the viewer.

The Soldier has no designated ethnicity or distinguishing characteristics, and the family at the end of the road could be a mother or father, husband or wife, son or daughter, brother or sister, or friend or cousin.

"When a Soldier first walks into the SFAC, they will know they are going to be OK, that they'll be getting answers," she said. "I want the painting to convey hope, homecoming and that things are going to get better."

In the painting, Manga portrays the Soldier already holding the keys to life in his hands, but the SFAC will assist him down his path of knowing how and which door to open.

"She painted this from her heart," said Elaine Kono, SFAC finance counselor. "It was a gift for us and art therapy for her. I can see a new gleam in her eye and an uplifted spirit."

The SFAC supports WTB active duty, Reserve and National Guard Soldiers and families during the long-term recovery process with counselors, tools, programs and recreation activities in a relaxing home-away-from-home setting.

Page last updated Fri March 19th, 2010 at 15:26