ELWOOD — With flags raised, the community showed their love for fallen Elwood Police Officer Noah Shanahvaz.
"All of us can honor Noah by doing three things,” said Laurie Shahnavaz, Noah Shahnavaz's mother. “Number one: do hard things, number two: show kindness to others, number three: do what you can to make the world a better place."
Making the world a better place and making sure Noah Shahnavaz is never forgotten is what Mark Joyner, the owner of Joyner’s Restaurant, hopes the dedication of the mural painted on the front of his restaurant will do.
"In our world today, it seems like communities are falling apart, but there is still strength in communities. They will still come together,” said Joyner. "We've just got to learn to put differences aside and love and care about each other that's what community is all about."
The mural was originally painted to bring in more customers, but Joyner said dedicating it to someone who means so much to the community is an honor.
"It was a whole ministry that took place in the whole community,” said Joyner. “We've spent a lot of time visiting with people and it has really brought people together and started some healing in the community."
The mural's artist, Theodore Winters, has been painting murals professionally for 15 years. He met Noah Shahnavaz while he was creating the artwork.
"I walked up to the car. I approached him,” said Winters. “We were talking about police, and I thanked him for being a police officer. I said, 'I know it's a hard job I know it's a difficult job, but I really appreciate what you do and thank you for your service.'“
Winters said painting the mural is the most meaningful work he has ever done.
"Art is supposed to bring people together,” said Winters. “It is supposed to affect people in a positive way. So, the fact that you know we did this mural and everything that happened, happened and we could use that to honor Noah and really honor his service. Usually when you do these murals and you do dedication murals as an artist, it's usually for people that are already gone so it was a rare case that Noah so his tribute mural while he was alive, and he said he would have liked it because he said he liked it. "
Both Winters and Joyner say they hope all police officers feel a sense of comfort when they see the mural, knowing that those involved in the dedication support law enforcement and what they do for the community.
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