BARSTOW — Hooz on First sports bar owner Phil Harris unveiled his tribute to the armed services with a wall mural on June 25. Silhouettes with each of the branches of the military are depicted with larger portraits of nearby Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow and Fort Irwin National Training Center to emphasize the impact these two facilities have had on the Barstow community.
“I used to bartend at Ft. Irwin periodically,” said Harris. “They are a big part of the economy around here.”
Harris has been in the restaurant business since the age of 13, starting as a dishwasher. He worked his way up through the ranks and was a bartender by the age of 21. This coming January will be Hooz on First’s 30- year anniversary.
“Hooz on First has always had a lot of military customers and we wanted to honor them,” said artist Kathy Fierro. Along with lead artist Juliette Tison and former employee Karen White, Fierro worked on the mural for 4-5 months.
There are 16 murals altogether, each one featuring a military branch or special group.
“It was a lot of research," said Tison. “We tried to get a little bit of everything in there.”
“Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine, Coast Guard,” said White. “Women needed to be represented. POW, MIA, Fallen Soldier Battle Cross. We just thought the silhouette would be a very interesting thing to do.”
The mural is on the side of the building facing Main Street.
“It will probably will become a part of the tour,” said Fierro, who is also president of Main Street Murals. Established in 1997, Main Street Murals’ goal is to beautify the downtown area. On the last Saturday of every month, Main Street Murals has a walking tour to showcase the numerous building murals on both sides of Main Street between First and Seventh streets.
“It’s wonderful to be apart of these projects that tie our community together and support different factions of our community,” said Fierro. “The best thing about being in a small town is local pride.”
Harris says his dream is to create a miniature replica of the painted rocks found at the entrance of Ft. Irwin on the hill behind Hooz on First, with permission from the Army.
“I think the military needs to be praised for all that they do,” said Harris.