|The Painted Earth art studio in Countryside Marketplace was packed today with residents painting tiles in honor of Terry Smith Jr.|
"I just thought this was a good way to show my support, said Piccola, mother of 10-year-old and 4-year-old daughters. "I'm not really an artist, but it's a nice way to bring the community together. It shows what an awesome community we live in.
A body matching the boy's description was found buried on the property of his Menifee home last week following a four-day search by thousands of volunteers over several square miles. Through supplies and manpower donated by the Painted Earth pottery and art studio and funds donated to the Remembering Terry Smith group, the mosaic and plaque honoring Terry will be mounted on the wall at Menifee Market, near where the boy lived.
A day after residents were offered the chance to come to Painted Earth to create their tributes to Terry, the art studio was packed with customers today. Paying $3 each for one tile per family to cover materials only, young and old painted colorful designs and poignant messages in another sign of the community unity shown ever since the boy was first reported missing.
"The first person was in line at 5:45 this morning," said store manager Gayle Durivage. "By the time I got here at 9, the line was all the way down the side of the building. It's been crowded all day and everyone has been wonderful. It's been a really hot day and the AC couldn't really handle it, and people have had to wait their turn. But everyone has been patient, respectful and kind."
Bill Gillette, one of the organizers of the massive volunteer search effort, joined his girlfriend Anna Bolton in decorating tiles for the mosaic.
"We needed something like this as a tribute to Terry," said Gillette, one of the committee members who voted to use the group's remaining funds to help pay for the mosaic. "Several companies have stepped forward, offering to take care of the funeral. The money from our fund was still there, and it turned out to be the perfect amount for this.
"A lot of people out there were doubting our intentions with the fund. Hopefully, people will agree this is a proper tribute."
Painted Earth is located at 30010 Haun Road in the Countryside Marketplace.
|Painted Earth store manager Gayle Duurivage shows some of the many tiles completed by Menifee residents today.|
|Distribution of the tiles was cut off about 5 p.m. when the day's supply was sold out.|
|Volunteer search coordinator Bill Gillette and his girlfriend Anna Bolton work on a tile in honor of Terry Smith Jr.|