Local veteran paints portraits of fallen military heros
BAYTOWN, Texas (FOX 26) - You can't top his passion for his subject matter.
"These are the cream of the crop, folks. They don't come any better than this. This is the best there is," he says pointing at an incomplete portrait of three soldiers.
Ken "The Dauber" Pridgeon paints pictures of the fallen for those they've left behind. His latest work features three Green Berets murdered by a Jordanian soldier. One of the three is a local.
“Yes. Moriarity was from Houston. I'm trying to paint all the Texas boys.”
That’s Jim Moriarity. The retired sign painter admits he's an accidental portrait artist.
“You've never been to college. You've to art school. How can you do that? And you can't do it on Social Security,” Dauber said.
And yet he has over 300 times. Ever since he was asked to paint one to honor a young warrior the day before his funeral. Now the portraits of fallen Texas warriors and law enforcement officer everywhere you look in his Baytown home -- everywhere.That is until the portrait gallery he dreams of building can become a reality.
“That's what we are trying to work on in La Porte at Mickey Gilley's home center.”
He hands over the works to the families if they want them, and nothing gives him more joy or purpose. He says he frequently cries while painting them.
“To serve the families and give them something they can't get anywhere else is absolutely amazing,” Dauber said.
And perhaps just as amazing is the 82-year-old man has no plans to stop as long as he can still see and hold a brush.
“When they say 'Dauber put down the paint brush and they're having his funeral tomorrow.' That's when it'll be done.”
There may be another reason he does this. He served in the Air Force for 10 years. When he got out in 1963 veterans like him weren’t very popular.