Glory Sanchez is a bartender downstairs at American Legion Post 282 on University Avenue. But in recent weeks, she’s been spending hours at a time up on an outdoor scaffold—lovingly restoring the legion emblem.
Work is about half-done. Trolley riders and motorists on Spring Street can see the progress daily on the east-facing wall—and note the stark contrast between the new and old.
Sanchez, a trained artist with a San Diego State art degree, said the logo was between 30 and 40 years old—and showing its age. White streaks on the stucco testify to its deterioration. The mural evokes the national emblem.
But the five-year La Mesa resident and San Diego native said she’s volunteering a month of work not as a centennial salute but as a tribute to the American Legion post’s commander—Leland Brooks, who has been diagnosed with cancer.
“It’s something he’s always wanted—to have that restored. So we decided to make that happen for him,” Sanchez said Saturday afternoon during a break.
“It’s going to be really nice when it’s done. But it’s taking a lot more hours than I expected.”
She said she’s had to fill in a lot of cracks and chipping.
“When we washed it, a lot of the paint came off. [I’m using] an acrylic gloss matte. It makes the paint more vibrant, and it also seals as we go.”
At 53, Glory isn’t scampering up the scaffold. She gets help setting up from fellow American Legion member David Schauer, 48, also a La Mesan.
She paints about three or four times a week, she says, working around her bartending job.
“One section at the very top—the artist [Vidal Aguirre] who originally did that pillar passed away, and I was honored to do his portrait. We have his portrait at the very top of the pillar, and I’m the one who did that.”
In fact, skills she learned from an older artist at Chicano Park helped prepare her for the legion project.
“I’m volunteering, but [the legion] is supplying all the supplies.”
Said Schauer, her helper: “She’s an awesome artist. You gotta see her stuff down in Chicano Park. Very nice.”