Last week I was honored in being asked to go to San Antonio with the National Cartoonist Society. Our mission was to draw cartoons for the wounded soldiers currently going through rehab. What an experience, I am still rehashing the people and events.
Out of privacy to the soldiers and the request of the military, I'm not going to post photo's of the brave men and women. However, here's an antidote that I may not soon forget.
I was drawing for a Army Ranger and Paratrooper. He was a young man with the looks of Hollywood and as cheerful as the day is long. He was the only one I met NOT blown up by an IED. He was run over by a train and lost his legs from his knees down. He knew the workings of his new bionic legs better than the doctors who installed them. He was quite remarkable and I was thoroughly impressed with his knowledge. I asked what he planned on doing with his life after he leaves the Intrepid. He said "I'm studying to be a Mechanical Engineer so I can make these prosthetics better and more efficient!" . He continued, "I have a few ideas already that can make the walk cycle even less clunky". I believe he will too. Here's the real cool part...
after some time he stood up and told me to "check this out". So he stood and he leaped in the air about 8-10 inches. When he safely landed he looked at me with excitement and the confidence of the 82nd Airborne and said, "I know that looks like no big deal to you...but remember-I HAVE NO FEET!". I don't think I could be any prouder of our service men and women. Oh, and by the way-all the soldiers I visited want to go back and return to duty to help their fellow brothers and sisters. Amazing.
So then we took a short walk to the Brooke Medical Center and we were planning on drawing for the soldiers in the burn unit. However we were told as of that morning there was only one soldier being treated for critical wounds and burns. Unfortunately that soldier passed away that morning. (insert prayer here)
So we went to the main hall and drew for the employees of Brooke Med. I was happy to do so, they usually are overlooked and we all should very grateful for their willingness to nurse and rehab our fallen heroes. Here are a few pics from that occasion.
Cartoonist Pictured: Left, Milburn Taylor, Jeff Keane (Family Circus), me, Rick Kirkman (Baby Blues)-he's kinda hidden on the other side of me, Bill Hinds (Tank McNamara)-hidden on the other side of Rick, Rob Harrell (Big Top and Adam@Home), then way at the end is Rob Smith. Across from Milburn standing is our group leader-Jeff Bacon. He does Broadside for The Military Time Magazine. Not pictured but he's in the next picture is Ed Steckly-a Humor Illustrator from NYC.
Here are two of three "Thank You" posters we made for the Intrepid and Brooke and USO staff.