Edmund “Ed,” 96, was enlisted in the United States Navy when he was about 20 years old. Ed spent over 20 years serving his country and was able to attain the rank of Chief Boatswain Mate by the time he was discharged around 1961. He spent 6 months of every year on a destroyer while in active service, and the other 6 months he lived in Quonset, RI. Ed is an incredibly talented artist, and as a result of, he was commissioned to paint the Navy emblems and insignias on several of the battleships at the time. He could not remember how many ships he had painted, sadly the records of the ships he painted were lost upon his move from Florida to Rhode Island.
Currently residing at Brookdale Greenwich Bay, Ed still enjoys attending the painting programs and Art Therapy Programs that the community offers. Well after his involvement with the Navy, Ed continued to serve others. He volunteered his time by painting murals at different VFW locations in Inverness, Florida where he resided. He estimated there were about 50 murals that he painted all together. Ed also served as the Commander at a VFW in Inverness, Florida for approximately 3 years. Later he worked at a sign shop and before retiring he taught an Auto Cad program for Adult Education at a high school in Inverness. Ed’s wish was to commemorate his service by returning to Newport, RI Naval Base, and to visit Battleship Cove in Massachusetts for the first time.
Ed has not been back to Newport Naval Base for about 10 years, and at that time he did not have the opportunity to go inside the gates; he was just able to see the outside. Ed realized this was a wish of his when he was reminiscing with fellow residents at Brookdale Greenwich Bay. Although Ed was only aware of one of the names of the ships he had painted for the Navy, the Witch of the Seas, he was hopeful he may come across one that he had the privilege of painting during his time of service.
Wish of a Lifetime and Brookdale were excited to send Ed, his daughter (Diane), and his grandson (Nick), to Newport Naval Base and Battleship Cove on July 27th, 2017.They started the day at the naval base around 10 AM where they were given a “windshield” tour, they were taken down to the piers, and also had the opportunity to eat lunch with some of the active duty Sailors – something the Navy refers to as “chow.”
Photography by: Jamie Corbman Photography