Progress was certainly made.
The Dove Campaign was incorporated as Kids as Peacemakers in 2005. Forney estimates he has sent out over 300 sheets of plywood to all the schools in Newburyport, as well as many in the surrounding communities, involving over 3000 students in the creation of over 20 murals that now grace several area towns including Lowell, Amesbury, Haverhill, Methuen, Lawrence, Byfield and West Newbury, where the latest of two new murals have gone up at the Page School and St. Ann’s Catholic Church.
“I don’t think it was me as much as the fact that a lot of people reacted to it and made it happen,” Forney said. “Because I couldn’t do it on my own.”
Kids as Peacemakers has also developed many partnerships along the way, including one with a similar national organization, On Earth Peace, which has broadened their reach. The child abuse prevention organization, the National Exchange Club oversees the Kids as Peacemakers program now and adopted its mural program in 2006.
“Many things have happened in my life that I can’t explain,” Forney said. “I’m 88 years old, going to be 89 in August. I had a good ride and I have had a wonderful life.”
Before he and his wife leave for Pennsylvania, Forney is overseeing the installation of the latest Newburyport mural at Park Circle.
“There is some sadness,” said Forney of his and Margaret’s departure. “But we also won’t miss a few things, like the rebuilding of the I-95 bridge and the finalization of the traffic circle by the Chain Bridge. But we’re going to miss a lot of people and the different organizations that we have been a part of. It’s just that, we are at a stage in life where we’ve been fortunate enough to have enough resources that we can go into a retirement community and stay there for the rest of our lives.”