Candy Kitchen Mural… ‘The Candy Kitchen Salutes… Duty, Honor and Sacrifice’

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While Ray ‘Bubba’ Sorensen was in Wilton working on the Freedom Rock, we had the chance to meet him. It was during this time we asked about the possibility of commissioning a mural on the Candy Kitchen. Bubba was interested in the project and asked that we work out the details with his wife, Maria. Long story short we did and a commitment to proceed with the project was made in June of 2020.

Even before we made a commitment, the basic mural design was thought through. We wanted the mural to illustrate soldiers who represent the eight wars which have occurred during the lifetime of the Candy Kitchen building, built in 1856. Our idea was to create something which would pay tribute to individuals who served in the military who had a connection to Wilton. Since the building was built five years before the Civil War and remains to this day, we wanted the mural to reflect the military history which has occurred during its 162 years of existence. Our mural spotlights Wilton connected individuals who went off to war and were the first from here to die during their service to our country. These honorable soldiers stand tall and proud, their faces reflecting the sacrifices they made in defending freedom.

Beginning with the Civil War is infantry soldier Sergeant Henry Seibert for whom the G.A.R. Post in Wilton was named after. Seibert died on April 6, 1862, during the battle of Shiloh. We unfortunately were unable to locate a photo of him, so Bubba gave him a face for our mural.

Next, is an unnamed soldier representing all those who fought in the Spanish American War. There were four men from the Wilton area to serve in this war and fortunately all of these men returned home after serving.

Moving right is Private Bacilios ‘Gus’ Chimpanis a Greek immigrant who enlisted in the United States Army on June 5, 1917, and went on to fight in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive where he was killed September 26, 1918, in France.

Next we see Seaman First Class John Dale Grunder who lost his life while serving in World War II. After surviving the attack on Pearl Harbor, Grunder went on to serve on the USS San Francisco where he was killed by enemy action during the Battle of Guadalcanal on November 13, 1942.

Next is Master Sergeant Clifford Ryan who was killed in Korea on November 1, 1950, in the Battle of Unsan. Ryan had previously served during World War II and when he died left behind a wife, Helen Coss of Wilton and a four year old son and infant daughter.

Moving right is Vietnam War casualty Corporal Jeffrey Alan Maurer who died, when a land mine detonated while he was conducting battle damage assessment on a North Vietnamese bunker complex in Binh Duong Province, June 9, 1972.

Finally, are shown unnamed soldiers representing all those who fought in the Gulf War (Desert Shield/Desert Storm) and the Global War on Terrorism. There were several men and women from the Wilton area who served in these wars and we are fortunate no service personnel involved with these wars from our community died during their service.

Finally, on the far-left end of the mural is seen Candy Kitchen founder Gus Nopoulos along with his son, George Nopoulos and daughter-in-law, Thelma pausing to paying their respects.

Gus Nopoulos was drafted into United States Army during World War II on July 23, 1918. It was determined Gus was not fit for Army service, so he was discharged honorably on August 1, 1918. Both Gus’ sons, George and Leo Nopoulos served in World War II; George serving in the United States Army from December of 1942 to April of 1946 and Leo serving in the United States Navy from December 1943 to August 1944.