JCHS grad's mural inspires pride from great grandfather, community

JCHS graduate Kaylee Heller is pictured in front of the fence she painted for her great grandfather, Dick Mathes, in Junction City.

In the summer of 2017, right after Kaylee Heller graduated from Junction City High School, her great grandfather — Dick Mathes — gave her a special task. 

Mathes proposed that Heller paint a mural on his fence, at 726 Brentwood Court in Junction City. Throughout high school, Heller painted a lot of different things in her free time. 

“Painting was always my favorite hobby,” Heller said. “But this task was going to be a lot different than what I was used to. Painting a fence is a lot more difficult than one might think.”

That summer, Heller painted a third of the fence, just so she could get a feel for how that project might go. Once she was finished painting that portion of the fence, she realized it had a significant impact on her relationship with her great grandfather, as well as Junction City. 

“I was constantly seeing people post photos of it, or (hearing) others talking about it,” Heller said. “So this summer, me and my grandpa decided I should finish the fence.”

Heller lives in Kansas City, and is preparing to attend Johnson County Community College, but took some time out of her schedule this summer to finish painting Mathes’ fence.

“It was another big task, but nothing has made me more happy than seeing my grandpa’s face once the fence was finished,” Heller said. “It has added so much life and color into a normal fence, and I am so blessed that I have had an opportunity to do something that will be a part of Junction City forever.”

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