Q-C artist Ostrom is an inspiration


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Posted Online: Jan. 01, 2013, 6:05 pm
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By John Marx, jmarx@qconline.com
In his mid-80s and fiercely fighting muscular dystrophy, Warren Ostrom rose from his wheelchair. The room, out of respect for such a giving and gracious man, went quiet.

"It is an honor that the Lord shared with me the vision to bring this work to life,'' Ostrom told those gathered recently just outside the pediatrics unit at Trinity Rock Island.
Ostrom, Trinity staffers and Trinity board members were on hand to dedicate the gorgeous "Jesus Loves the Little Children" wood carving donated by Ostrom to Trinity. It is the third such piece of art he has donated to Trinity, and the children depicted in the wood carving are based on Ostrom's grandchildren.

"I'm humbled at the opportunity to be able to share it,'' Ostrom said of his latest piece of art. "Life has its challenges, but I'm fortunate to be able to still do many things I love, and creating this piece was a work of love. You know, I've been counted out many times, but never heard the referee.''

Two other Ostrom works hang in the Trinity Rock Island chapel, while another is in the surgery waiting area.

"The need to give back is always there for me,'' Ostrom said. "My faith and trust in the Lord will always be my guiding force.''

Ostrom, who works with natural materials like bone, feathers, stone and wood, especially is drawn to American Indian art and spirituality. His work is displayed in seven museums, including the Figge Art Museum in Davenport and the Smithsonian affiliate in Peoria.

"We are so grateful that Warren has dedicated himself to bettering the lives of so many with his work,'' said Dana Wilkinson, Trinity Foundation board member. "In addition to his many talents, Warren is a giving and caring man. We cannot thank him enough.''

It should be noted Ostrom is a successful businessman who built Ostrom Painting & Sandblasting into a company recognized across the globe. He also is a decorated war veteran, having served in special forces as a Navy frogman.

Switching hats for just a moment on a day set to honor his work, his generosity and his giving spirit, Ostrom tackled a tough issue. He also issued a challenge to Americans everywhere.

"I served my country honorably, and I struggle with how our country is being managed and the way veterans are treated these days,'' he said. "I struggle especially knowing there are homeless veterans out there and a country with so many resources that allows something like that to happen. It's just a shame.''

The dedication ceremony was my first chance to see and understand the fruits of Ostrom's creative labor. I was impressed.

But listening to a self-made man who cares so much for the world around him left a lifelong impression. The man, his work, and all he stands for are inspirational.

Columnist John Marx can be reached at (309) 757-8388 or jmarx@qconline.com.
















 



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  Today is Monday, April 21, the 111th day of 2014. There are 254 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: The female sex seems to have gone crazy on the subject of dry goods. When high prices keep them from increasing their wardrobes, they turn to stealing. Yard goods, hats, shoes and other items are being picked up and carried home.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Members of Everts Commandery No. 18, Knights Templar, under Commander H.C. Cleaveland, marched from the Masonic Temple to Trinity Episcopal Church for their annual Easter services.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Nate Hultgren pitched the Augustana College baseball team to a 10-3 victory over Carthage, striking out 11 men and allowing only four hits.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Marvel Leonhardi, a Rock Island High School senior, was the winner of an essay contest on advertising sponsored by The Argus and Advertising Age, a national advertising publication.
1964 -- 50 years ago: The Augustana College band drew a crowd of 1,200 people for its annual home concert in Centennial Hall. The size of the crowd was indicative of the fact the band is rapidly approaching the stature of the Augustana Choir.
1989 -- 25 years ago: A benefit to raise money for extracurricular activities in the Rock Island Milan School District will be April 27 at the Quad City Downs harness race track. People buying $17.50 tickets to the second annual "Night at the Quad City Downs" will be entitled to an evening of harness racing and dinner.






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