Mural recognizes local NASA astronaut

By Beau Ebenezer

May 31, 2014 Updated Aug 22, 2014 at 3:51 PM CDT

CANTON, Ill. -- Steve Nagel, 67, couldn't help but smile as he watched the unveiling of a new mural in his hometown.

"It is great," said Nagel. "Even back when I first flew on the shuttle, the hometown pulled out all the stops for me. I can't imagine a hometown treating someone better than they has treated me."

The Canton native is the 100th NASA astronaut.

During his 30 years with the administration, he went on four different missions, all while bringing pride to his city.

"It's great because how many small communities can say that?" said Canton Mayor Jeffrey Fritz. "I think it's a great thing, and he is a positive role model."

That's why the city of Canton had to include him in their 80 foot wide mural on the newly renovated Canton Crossing Shopping Center.

The creators of the painting said Nagel's presence is felt three times throughout the artwork.

"We decided that one of the parks we could feature would be Nagel Park," said mural co-creator, Tracy Snowman. "Then we kept coming up with ideas beyond that like a little airplane and then putting the space shuttle in. It really was a must for us."

The final touch was a signed space shuttle personally put on by Nagel.

City leaders said Nagel and the mural are symbols for how high Canton residents can dream.

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