Members of VFW Post 1040, VFW Post 8870, American Legion Post 37, and the public gathered at Veterans Park in Lynnwood on Saturday, November 11, 2012 to commemorate Veterans Day.
Although the day was damp and chilly, the weather could not dampen the attendee’s respect for those that have served.
The keynote address was given by Michael Reagan, the founder of the Fallen Heroes Portrait Project.
Michael Reagan has raised over ten million dollars for charities across the country; primarily with his artwork. Now Michael has begun what he calls “the most important project he has ever done”, The Fallen Hero Portrait Project. He is creating portraits of all of the Fallen, free of charge for their families. So far he has completed over 3000 free portraits. In 2007 Michael was awarded the American Legion’s Patriot Award and in 2009 the VFW Commander in Chief Gold Medal of Merit. Then in 2010 he was named the 2010 Veteran Volunteer of the Year in Washington State.
On April, 10, 1968, after serving his country as a U.S. Marine, Michael returned home from Vietnam. He knew he had been spared for a reason and needed to discover what that reason was. While in ‘Nam, Michael drew portraits of his fellow Marines. In some cases, those images were all that returned home.
Michael developed an idea. He began drawing two portraits of a celebrity, giving them one and asking them to autograph the second original drawing. Then he donated the second drawing to local charity fund-raisers. Michael’s first drawing featured Warren Moon. He donated that drawing to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes fund-raiser, it fetched $1,800. Michael had discovered his purpose.
Since that time, Michael has completed over 10,000 portraits of more 2,000 different celebrities and notable personalities. His art is so popular that his method of obtaining priceless autographs has changed. Now when he draws portraits he asks the celebrity to autograph as many as 10 blank illustration boards. He continues to donate theses images to fund-raisers throughout the nation.
During an auction for Children’s Hospital Edgar Martinez of the Seattle Mariners purchased a set of Michael’s lithographs that featured President George Bush and Barbara Bush for $12,000. Earlier in the same year an Original portrait of Harrison Ford was sold at a Museum of Flight charity fund-raiser for $7,500. These are just two examples of how Michael’s art benefits those in need.
Michael’s collection includes such notables as Bob Hope, Katherine and Audrey Hepburn, Red Skelton, and Ingrid Bergman. In addition, he has done drawings of every single Heisman Trophy winner and a majority of the NFL Hall of Fame members.
Then after working with five U.S. Presidents, Michael was asked to draw a special piece to commemorate President George W. Bush’s election and a portrait of the First Lady, Laura Bush. He personally presented the originals of these portraits to the President and First Lady. He has now been asked to do some work for the Presidential Library.
When the President saw his wife’s portrait he commented that Michael had caught the sparkle in Laura’s eyes. He said that “he loved her so much that he wanted to see that sparkle in her eyes every day so he would hang the portrait close to him so he would see it everyday”.
This story is much bigger than can be written here. For more information, please visit Michael’s Web site, www.michaelgreaganartist.com or www.fallenheroesproject.org. Feel free to contact Michael because he loves talking to people about his art. He once commented that he was given a gift and hoped he was doing what he was supposed to be doing with it. It is obvious that he is doing exactly that. He will never forget these losses. It’s all about Love and Respect!