by Dennis Dalman
A limited-edition artist’s print commemorating the Sartell paper mill will be unveiled at 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 3 at the Sauk Rapids VFW lodge during a meeting of Engine Company 844 Retired Sartell Firefighters.
Everyone is invited to come see the new print, which was commissioned by the retired firefighters and created by Iowa artist J.D. Speltz. People who want a framed copy of the print can order one at the Aug. 3 meeting. There are only 300 of the prints available.
About three months ago, a group of retired Sartell-LeSauk firefighters decided to commission Speltz to do a painting-print of the paper mill. Twice before, the firefighters paid Speltz to do paintings commemorating the Sartell-LeSauk Fire Department – in 2000 and again in 2005. Those two prints, also limited editions, were sold and raised money for the department.
Proceeds from the sale of the paper-mill print, entitled A Time to Remember, will be used for fire-prevention activities sponsored by the retired firefighters, who promote fire safety and fire prevention. The group’s president is Dennis Molitor, a long-time member of the department, as well as a long-time employee of the Sartell paper mill.
An explosion and fire May 28, 2012, which killed one employee, caused the mill to be closed permanently. It had been an economic bedrock of Sartell for more than 100 years.
The new highly colorful print shows the old brick paper-mill building and its chimney in the background and the newer baby-blue plant in back of that. The foreground shows a father and his little son with a firefighter’s hat on, fishing in the Mississippi River. The painting is sprinkled with flying ducks and two resting waterfowl.
Speltz, an award-winning artist, lives in Armstrong, Iowa. His specialty is depicting Midwest life in paintings and prints, mainly for conservation groups and civic organizations. He is the owner-operator of Speltz Studio of Wildlife.
“Anybody who ever worked at that mill will want to see this print,” said Ken Schulte, a member of the retired firefighters’ organization. “It’s a great commemorative piece for them and their families.”
Those with questions about the print or how to order it can contact Schulte at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Time to Remember is the name of the commemorative print created by Iowa artist J.D. Speltz. Sartell retired firefighters commissioned the print in honor of the Sartell paper mill and its thousands of employees who worked there during the plant’s more than 100-year history.