The Story Behind American Pride
Back in February of 2002, I drew a couple of pictures for a local fundraiser for an 18 month old girl whom had a brain tumor. I wanted to draw something everyone could relate to and have people take a moment to pause and reflect on some of life's realities. I decided to draw an image of Walter Payton using inspiration from a Wheaties box.
As I was searching for another drawing, I happened to have on the A&E Channel which had a special on the 9/11 attacks. As I listened, I turned my head and saw the infamous image of our brave firefighters hoisting up the American Flag at Ground Zero. It came to me at that instance and twelve hours later the drawing was completed. I used charcoal pencils to draw the original and I then made ten copies for the fundraiser. The drawings did well at the fundraiser.
During this time, I had three firefighters, all from different towns, inquire about the drawing. They wanted to purchase the drawing either for themselves, retiring Chiefs and/or other fire departments. It didn't set well with me selling them to fire departments. The next day I was working at Wrigley Field and I told a few guys over at Engine 78 about the drawing. They immediately asked to have one for their fire house. A week later, two of my American Pride drawings were on Engine 78's walls, one upstairs and one near the kitchen. My second donation went to Lake Hills Fire Department. After that, I was off and running. I drove to NYC and donated 15 drawings to New York Fire Departments as well as the NYPD Police Commissioners Office and City Hall. I then set off across the country, with my good friend, Jacob Hekter, whom videotaped my experiences donating the American Pride drawing. To date, I have donated over 915 drawings.