When it comes to hometown pride, Brandon Warshawsky gets an A-plus.
The Arnold resident of six years was tired of driving into town without being greeted by the iconic “Welcome to Arnold, Heart of the Sierra” sign, which was downed by a storm several years ago. So, he took matters into his own hands.
“I remember that sign, coming up here when I was 10 years old as a tourist, and it’s just kind of identifiable for the town of Arnold. Everyone knows that sign. It’s on coffee mugs and t-shirts,” he said. “Now I’m here raising my family.”
With his skills as a handyman and a woodworker, Warshawsky decided to recreate the sign so that his community, his five boys, and his wife, Lacey, who grew up in Arnold, could enjoy it for years to come.
Warshawsky referenced a photo of the old sign to construct the new one out of locally gathered deadfall lumber. With help from his crew at Hwy 4 Homes, each log was hand-hewn and coated with several layers of oil-based stain for protection. The canvas was printed with the help of Warshawsky’s aunt at Bay Area-based JP Graphics and Shanti Art Design.
On Friday, Sept. 24, the team bolted together the frame and transported it in one piece to the Highway 4 Arnold entrance, where it was erected once again.
The help of a real estate attorney, who volunteered her time, was also needed to complete the project.
“It meant a lot for her as well,” Warshawsky said.
Other contributors were Ebbetts Pass Lumber, who donated materials, and Jeff Strong with Strong Snow Service, who helped transport and install the sign.
So far, the reaction from the community has been largely positive on Facebook, where Hwy 4 Homes posted photos of the new sign. Some expressed their sadness when the old sign fell and their joy in seeing it resurrected. One commenter described the sign as “the heart of Arnold.”
“It’s about giving back to the community you choose to raise your family in. Giving what you have that others don’t. Sometimes it’s about teaching your children the importance of community and solidarity,” the Hwy 4 Homes post reads. “This was definitely a labor of love.”