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Seattle Sketcher

An illustrated journal of life in the Puget Sound region by Times artist Gabriel Campanario.

November 5, 2010 at 6:59 PM

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Faces of fallen heroes draw this veteran artist home

Posted by Gabriel Campanario


Sketched Nov. 3, 10:50 a.m. [Click sketch to view larger]

At the height of his career drawing portraits of presidents and Hollywood stars, Edmonds artist Michael Reagan received a phone call that changed his life. "How much would you charge for a portrait of my husband, who died in Iraq last year?"

His immediate reply: "I can't charge you. I'm a Marine Corps Vietnam veteran."

Seven years later, Reagan has drawn 2,391 pencil portraits for families of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. A recent one depicts Spc. James Robinson, of Lebanon, Ohio. The father of two was on his third combat tour when he was killed in Afghanistan on Aug. 28, said widow Kate Robinson, of Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

The drawings -- each takes five hours -- have become Reagan's unpaid, full-time job. They provide closure for the families, he said, and for himself. After Vietnam, "this project has brought me home."

Reagan will receive Washington State's 2010 Outstanding Veteran Volunteer Award during Saturday's 45th Annual Veterans Day Parade events in Auburn.

The Fallen Heroes Project

Watch Reagan draw and talk about "The Fallen Heroes" project on this upcoming Fox News Channel "Real American Stories" video.

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