World War II veteran ‘keeps going’, painting for fellow servicemen and women in McSherrystown

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MCSHERRYSTOWN, ADAMS COUNTY, Pa. -- A World War II veteran from Adams County keeps his memory of the war alive through his artwork, and his creations serve an even greater purpose.

The veteran paints a picture of World War II every day.

His art details what he went through, everything from the battles to losing his friends in combat.

Then, many of those pieces end up helping other veterans.

"These are black stripes or invasion stripes so they knew whose airplanes they were," said Lawrence 'Gumpy' Bolin of McSherrystown, Adams County.

Bolin, better known by friends as “Gumpy”,  says he doesn’t sleep much these days.

Instead, you can find him sitting at his kitchen table in McSherrystown, telling war stories through his artwork.

“I can’t do hardly anything else, and I can’t sit still. I got to do something," said Gumpy.

Painting is how Gumpy says he keeps his mind right.

“I want to try to keep going as long as I can. I don’t want to be miserable or be a burden to anybody. That's the one thing I don’t want to be," he said.

He’s a 95-year-old World War II veteran.

He wishes more people knew about the war.

"There’s young people saying it never happened. They don’t want to come to me and tell me that cause I was there!" he said.

He doesn’t just document his memories; he gives them away.

"He does his paintings and drawings to let me use his gifts," said Christie Lucas, Founder of Roots for Boots,

He paints every Monday for Lucas's nonprofit, gifts for fellow servicemen and women.

"If he doesn’t have anything to paint, I say paint planes, right?" said Lucas.

"She’s pushy!” laughed Gumpy.

Gumpy doesn't make money from the paintings; his payment is appreciation.

"That’s all I ask for... as long as they appreciate it," said Gumpy.

Besides helping others, creating art gives Gumpy a reason to keep on keeping on.

"It helps me. It helps me to keep going," said Gumpy.

You can find Gumpy at one of Roots for Boots events.

Founder, Christie Lucas, says it supports veterans in a number of ways, creating partnerships within the community to help veterans now while preparing for future challenges.

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