FORT WAYNE, Indiana (Indiana's NewsCenter)--SOLDIERS, DURING BIG NATIONAL HOLIDAYS…BUT THERE ARE ALSO PRIVATE WAYS TO SUPPORT OUR MEN AND WOMEN IN UNIFORM…LESS FLASHY, BUT JUST AS HEARTFELT.
AMERICANS HAVE ALL SORTS OF PUBLIC WAYS TO HONOR OUR
Garry: I want it to honor people…this is about honoring people, their profession, in their vocation.
YOU CAN USUALLY FIND FORT WAYNE ARTIST GARRY MCELFRESH ON A CALHOUN STREET SIDEWALK, NEAR THE COURTHOUSE…SKETCH PAD ON LAP…THE IMAGE OF A SOLDIER TAKING SHAPE ON THE PAGE.
Garry: This has been my salvation, it’s like a refuge, it’s like a shelter from the storm.
LIFE HASN’T BEEN EASY FOR MCELFRESH…SEVERE ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER CHASED HIM FROM JOB TO JOB FOR YEARS, UNTIL HE PICKED UP A PENCIL, AND BEGAN FOCUSING ON HIS ART.
Garry: I set down in front of a drawing board that’s my whole world. Everything else disappears for a brief moment in time.
AND IN THOSE MOMENTS MCELFRESH PAYS TRIBUTE TO THE SOLDIER. HE’S CREATED A LINE OF GREETING CARDS, BLACK AND WHITE AND COLOR, THAT HONOR THE MANY MUNDANE MOMENTS OF SOLDIERING. A VETERAN ONCE EXPLAINED TO HIM THE IMPORTANCE OF MAIL FROM HOME.
Gary: When we get mail from home it’s like a blood transfusion, whether it be email or hard copy cards. When they get mail it’s like they’re with that person.
MCELFRESH SAYS HIS CARDS AREN’T ABOUT GLORIFYING WAR. THEY’RE ABOUT REACHING OUT TO MEN AND WOMEN IN A TOUGH SPOT AND OFFERING COMFORT. THE KIND OF COMFORT THIS ARTIST HAS FOUND IN HIS WORK…A REFUGE, A SHELTER FROM THE STORM. FROM ONE OF LIFE’S VETERANS TO ANOTHER. ERIC OLSON REPORTING OUT IN YOUR COUNTRY.
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