Plaques Of Inspiration

Payson man's inscribed wood plaques are dedicated to military personnel

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On the walls of U.S. military installations in Iraq and Afghanistan, in the Military Veterans Hospitality Room at Sky Harbor Airport, terminal two, hang plaques which are the work of Payson resident, David Slater.

The plaques read, in all capital letters:

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David Slater has been making plaques for the men and women serving in the armed forces for the past 14 months.

"May God protect and give

You the insight to protect

The others around you

May God be your shadow

And in your footsteps as

You follow the path to

Protect the innocent"

A year and a half ago, Slater had a nephew serving in Marine Corps intelligence.

Slater kept trying to think of something he could make to thank him for serving his country.

"I didn't figure it out before his tour was over, but I did not give up on the idea," Slater said.

In October of 2006, Slater obtained a copyright for an original saying and began making plaques to give to American soldiers.

"I have given away approximately 380," he said.

Payson Supply Line and Packages from Home have shipped the plaques out in care boxes. They hang on the walls of National Guard offices in the Valley and various local businesses.

It takes Slater about an hour to burn his message into the wood of each sign.

The wood is actually irregular cabinet doors donated by RC Cabinets in Tempe.

Slater has begun a new series of plaques that he is making out of planks donated by The Door Stop in Payson.

These will read:

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David Slater

"May your God and the

Others around you help ease

Your pain and suffering

Knowing what you have done

To serve your country

May you be given

The respect you have

Earned and deserve"

He plans to send it to injured soldiers in hospitals.

Locally, the American Legion and Veterans Helping Veterans have also received placemats inscribed with Slater's message.

Slater served in the Navy from 1966 to 1970.

"I never stepped on land in Vietnam, but the second cruise I was on, we carried ammunition, explosives and a SEAL team -- I could have skipped a rock to shore," Slater said.

He was a gunnery captain and his job aboard ship was to land helicopters on the ship's dock and oversee the loading and unloading of ammunition.

"The first time I tried to land a helicopter, I almost got blown off the ship," Slater said.

After his ship was decommissioned in 1969, Slater joined the Seebees.

The plaques are his way of saying thanks and giving back.

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