Mathis – While driving on Interstate Highway 37 passing Mathis, motorists may notice a new mural on Q Rental Inc.’s building.

Q Rental is a small company in Mathis that rents equipment from bulldozers to trenchers. Additionally, the company is the local STIHL and Dixie Chopper dealership. 

Paying tribute to the military and fallen soldiers, Hayden Gallagher, president of Q Rental Inc., hired local artist Michaela Gonzalez for the job.

“Saw her work, does a beautiful job – does excellent work,” Gallagher said.

Gallagher wanted a mural on the building dedicated not only to the military but to his best friend’s son who was killed in Afghanistan.

“All of our kids weigh heavy on our heart that are in the military, and it’s on everybody’s minds all the time. You know? They’re there risking their life every day for us,” Gallagher said.

“Everybody has somebody they know that’s in the military. And we need to honor them in the respectful [manner].”

Gallagher stated he was inspired by Gonzalez’s previous artwork. In addition to the mural she just painted, Gonzalez has another mural on the Mathis Animal Shelter.

While volunteering at the shelter, Gonzalez was outside doing structure painting for the building and noticed a blank wall. 

“We had this blank wall, and every artist’s dream is to look at a blank wall and be able to paint on it,” Gonzalez said. 

“And so I said asked Thomas Armstrong over there, ‘You know what, why don’t I paint something for the shelter on here?’ Something really happy and colorful that attracts the kids as they drive by.”

Gonzalez has been painting her entire life. She says it’s a great way to relieve stress. 

The fallen soldier mural outside of Q Rental is currently the largest painting Gonzalez has ever done. She stated that it took her three weeks to finish it.

“It is very different than what I’m used to because each piece of the mural, I have to look at in about two feet squares,” she said. “And so when I’m looking at it like that, it’s hard to determine what I’m actually painting until I get down from the scaffold and look back at the actual outcome of it.”

Despite the obstacles, Gonzalez is very proud of her work.

“I was very happy with it,” she said. “I think it’s a very powerful image.”

The mural is now completed and ready for the world to see. Gallagher encourages everyone to come out and take a picture with it.