A Job Well Done
BY MICHAEL KEATING
It started when Roland Castanie, a
professional artist and teacher in Texas City, Texas, asked VVA
member Robert Rodriguez if he kept any memorabilia from the
Vietnam War. Rodriguez loaned him his old boots, boonie hat, and
dog tags. “I want to do something for your chapter,” Castanie
He arranged to attend the next
meeting of Galveston County Chapter 685. Arriving early, he set up
a covered easel in the front of the room. Chapter President James
Rose introduced him. Castanie spoke briefly and then unveiled his
careful rendering of Rodriguez’s boots, hat, and tags. The title
read, “ ‘Job Well Done, Brother.’”
“It was breathtaking. Overwhelming,” said Rose.
“My best friend,” Castanie
explained, “was Robert Dale Spencer. We were both artists. I went
to college; he went to Vietnam. I made it back from college, but
he never returned from Vietnam.”
Castanie offered to donate the illustration to the chapter if the
members would set up a scholarship fund in Spencer’s name. It was
an offer Chapter 685 was quick to accept.
The artwork was reproduced on
high-quality paper and sales—mostly to Vietnam veterans—made the
first scholarship competition possible. The competition was open
to all high school seniors in Galveston County. Applicants were
required to submit one piece of artwork related to patriotism,
veterans, or the active military.
Last Memorial Day, Chapter 685
presented the Robert Dale Spencer Scholarship to three aspiring
young artists. The first-place award was $500; the second, $300;
and the third, $200. The original “Job Well Done, Brother” is on
permanent loan to the Vietnam Veterans National Memorial at Angel
Fire in New Mexico.
“There’s a pleasure,” Rose said,
“in helping young people who are the same age we were when we went
to war. And there’s a satisfaction in watching the pride light up
in the eyes of veterans when they first see the image.”
Recently Castanie, now an AVVA member, returned to Chapter 685
with four new prints.
Those prints are available in
reproduction. Castanie also provided 50 sets of artist’s proofs.
The chapter hopes these gifts will
double the number of awards next year. Any additional money will
be spent on veterans’ projects.
“I like what you’re doing,” said
To order prints, contact VVA Chapter 685 at 281-991-1467 or
firstname.lastname@example.org Individual prints retail for $10. Packages