Inside Baytown’s “Portrait of a Warrior” Art Gallery at 308 West Texas Avenue, you’ll find 155 faces of our fallen. People come from all over just to see. “To look at this gives you chills, this guy is so dedicated in honoring the people who serve our country,” said visitor Debbie Turner.
For the last 5 years, when bad things happen to Texas military members, Ken Pridgeon paints their portraits and passes along free prints to their families. “This keeps me going. I will be able to put a band-aid on their hearts,” said Pridgeon.
But when 4 Marines and a Navy sailor were murdered last week in Chattanooga, Tennessee at a Navy reserve center, the 80-year-old Air Force veteran felt compelled to paint their portraits together on one canvas. “I'm just floored that we have something like that going on in the United States. I have cried big tears painting these guys,” said Pridgeon.
Just like he’s done so many times before, Pridgeon plans to give prints to their families across the country. “This is just a dream that'll never come true is to bring back the kids as well as I can, put make-up on them and give them back to their mommas," he said.
His attention to every detail is vital. “I know that the family knows that dimple, they know that little grin, or that little nuance about that kid, they know it,” said Pridgeon.
And Pridgeon knows his paint and patience, helps families heal. “This is going to be completed as well as I can possibly do it and the families will have that as a keepsake," he said.
Learn more at www.portraitofawarrior.org.