Women get second chance to leave a mark on their hometown

Lisa Ferguson
Prosper Press
Madison Kesler, left, and Kyndall Forshee spray paint "small town big heart" on the silo near downtown Prosper in June. The pair originally painted the phrase, which has become a sort of unofficial slogan for the town, on the structure in 2014. The spot has served as a backdrop for countless family and senior photo sessions over the years.

It may be the best-kept secret in Prosper.

Who painted the phrase “small town big heart” on the silo?

The aluminum structures near downtown made news this spring when they were vandalized with graffiti that was spray-painted on them.

The place has long been a favorite spot among town residents for taking family portraits and senior photos, among others, due largely to the presence of the cute phrase that was itself sprayed in white paint onto the silos some time ago.

The offending graffiti was removed in May free of charge by Reese Painting, a locally owned and operated company that specializes in commercial and residential projects.

A crew of skilled workers used professional-grade products to rid the silos of the vandalism. However, the “small town big heart” phrase, which was partially covered with paint, could not be saved and was also wiped away.

Photos posted on social media of the cleaning process and its results prompted requests from residents and others for the original painters of the phrase to restore it in the same spot.

But the mystery of who’d put it there in the first place remained - although not for long.

“It was kind of like our fun little secret. It was our fun mark that we left on the town,” said Madison (Floyd) Kesler, a 2015 Prosper High School graduate who, along with classmate Kyndall (Miller) Forshee, recently took credit for having spray-painted “small town, big heart” on the silo in 2014.

“We didn’t need the recognition for it,” said Kesler, which is why the women have kept their role in the caper under wraps for nearly a half-dozen years.

Back then, they were in their senior year at Prosper High School and decided to paint the words, which Kesler recalls as having been the theme of that year’s homecoming festivities, on the silo.

The pair, childhood friends who had cheered together on teams since middle school, wanted to pose for photos beneath the words.

“We were really close and we wanted to do something fun for our senior year and just have it be memorable,” Forshee recalled.

Accompanied by their respective mothers - local Realtor Nancy Floyd and former Prosper ISD teacher Tori Miller - Kesler and Forshee went to the silo one evening and, sans permission from its owner, painted the words on its side.

The foursome returned the next day for a casual photo shoot with the girls dressed in their cheer uniforms. One of the shots ended up in the Prosper High School football program that year.

“After that went out, people started realizing, `Oh, there is this `small town big heart.’ I’m gonna go hunt it down,’ and then people started realizing it was on the silo,” Forshee said.

In the years since, the phrase has become a sort of unofficial motto for Prosper.

“I would go to people’s homes and I would see it (in photos) on their mantles, like with their kids’ pictures, and I was like, `Oh my gosh, that’s so funny,’” Floyd said.

Besides appearing in countless personal photos of local residents, the silos and the phrase are featured in a large mural that adorns the wall at Chills360, a local ice cream shop. It was also shown in a music video.

The women started a group text and have continued to message each other any time one sees their handiwork featured somewhere.

“There’s not anybody that we’ve seen in a picture that’s not smiling and enjoying it behind them,” said Miller, whose husband is Prosper Town Council Member Meigs Miller. “It’s just fun for us to be literally and figuratively behind them … and be a part of the smallness that Prosper still is with a big heart.”

When word began to spread online about the vandalism and clean-up efforts at the silos, along with pleas for “small heart big town” to be repainted, the women said they wanted to help.

This time, they sought permission from the silo’s owner, who Tori Miller said gave the four the green light to return the phrase to the structure in early June.

Because the sun had essentially baked the painted words into the metal of the silo over the years, Forshee said the repainting process proved to be an easy task that took only a few minutes to complete.

“We just took the spray paint and went back over it,” she said. “It is very, very similar to the original. … There were really no differences at all.”

This time around, “It felt more special to us,” Kesler said, noting that since 2014, she and Forshee have both gotten married and started their careers.

Dallas-resident Kesler, 23, graduated from Baylor University and works as a sales representative for a company selling commercial flooring to interior designers.

A graduate of Ouachita Baptist University now residing in Frisco, Forshee, 24, is a fourth-grade teacher at Prosper’s Furr Elementary School.

“Our lives have changed so much,” Kesler said. “It was a really special moment to go back with our moms and to kind of reminisce on not only how much the town has grown, but how much we’ve grown too. It was really cool.”

Tori Miller said she hopes the phrase will continue to strike a chord among Prosper residents.

“I think we need, as a town, to keep that same mentality – that it’s a small town with a big heart, even though it’s growing.”

Prosper High School alums Kyndall Forshee, left, and Madison Kesler pose for a photo at the silo near downtown Prosper. The pair recently revealed that they had painted the phrase "small town big heart" on the structure in 2015. Last month, they returned to repaint the words, which had been removed earlier this year as part of graffiti cleanup efforts.