PUBLISHED: 6:01 PM on Wednesday, November 9, 2005
Wall of honor
Juneau cafe pays tribute to military

Photo by Amanda Gragert
  The Udder Culture honors military personnel by displaying photos.
Tommy Penrose's mission to honor those who serve in the U.S. military is now a wall of honor for military personnel in The Udder Culture.

Penrose, co-owner of the sandwich and yogurt shop in Mendenhall Mall, has posted photos and letters of military personnel to show support of local heroes.

"I've never been in the military and this is a little bit of a way I can pay them back," Penrose said. "It's just one little thing we can do. It's a volunteer military and it's neat we're not being drafted. They might not have expected to go to war when they enlisted, but that's part of it."

Gina Weary, mother of Shanie Weary who was a U.S. Army police officer, brought her daughter's photo to the sandwich shop and said she is pleased to honor her.

"She always told me, especially before going to Iraq, 'Mom, this is my job. This is what I chose to do.' It's great that she served and I feel honored that she had an opportunity to serve the country," Gina Weary said.

Shanie Weary, now out of the military, works and lives in Seattle.

Penrose said military personnel do not have to have served overseas or even still be on active duty to be featured on the wall.

"We're not going to limit anyone. Shanie was over there (Iraq) for more than a year, so I'm going to keep it up," Penrose said.

The U.S. Army's Billy Dean and the U.S. Air Force's Joshua Dean also are featured on the wall. The wall of honor is a way to connect with the community, said their mother Sylvia Dean.

"Many people are concerned and want to be involved with supporting our troops, but they don't know anyone. This gives them that connection," Sylvia Dean said.

"I think they (Billy and Joshua) are glad to know that people back home care."

Penrose said he would like to see more additions to the wall with descriptions.

Penrose keeps pictures sent from friends in the military, and said he likes one of his friend Sgt. Matthew DuBois standing with an Iraqi family.

"I think it is great that no matter how you feel about the war politically, you can know we are making a difference over there," Penrose said. "This picture is living proof of that, just look at this Iraqi family. They have the freedom to dress anyway they choose."

Sally Lakeman, Dubois's mother, said she is proud of her son and that pictures of him with Iraqi families and children represent his love of family.

"He's really taken to those kids. I know he misses his family, but when you see those pictures it brings out who he is," Lakeman said. "It's a really awesome thing. I appreciate them being over there for us and making our world better."