Letters from Families


Dear Mike,

Words can not say what our hearts feel. “Thank you” for the wonderful work of art you did of our son. “It is Shane”! May God bless your wonderful heart of kindness with His abundant blessings… My family feels one does not have to know some one personally to love them. When we looked at the portrait, we knew we loved you dear kind sir, be blessed…

With appreciation from our hearts,

Wendell, Ann, Jacob, Brandon, Raven & Clay


Thank you Mike!

There is something about a true act of kindness and love that spills over and moves beyond the one heart it was meant to touch, it cannot be contained. It sparks something in everyone it even remotely touches and creates something greater than all of us. It creates hope. Something we all desperately need during this time of war and tragedy. Hope, faith in God, and belief in the good that lies in mankind, this is truly what the world needs now. Your gift of love creates a chain reaction of hope and caring that I see igniting within everyone that hears about it. Thank you for igniting such a spark by sharing your gift with me and with all the other families who have lost a beloved soldier in this war on terror.

The loss of my brother has left me with so many questions, wondering if his sacrifice was really going to make the difference he hoped for and worth the incredible grief felt by all my family, but most especially his child’s loss of a father now and in the coming years. While all is not resolved and the pain from this loss continues, I do have hope. Hope, renewed faith in God, and a stronger belief in the good that lies in mankind was something I really needed right now. Today is a better day.

Peace be with you,
Bea


Michael,

I need to call you Michael because I truly believe you are Michael the Angel sent here by God. First you had to suffer before you could heal others. As I read this father’s letter to you I knew in my heart that God had sent you to comfort and heal others.

Each time I read a letter from the family of a Fallen Hero I cry for them and I feel their pain. Mostly I feel their love when they first look into the eyes of their loved one that you so lovingly captured. As you know I felt the same way. I pray for you every day and I thank your wife for letting you be a part of so many peoples lives.

God Bless You
Shirley


I hope I can spell correctly through the tears.  We just received your package today, and there are just no words to describe it. We have so few pictures of James where is has a nice smile.  Most of the time he was always goofing off, with some silly pose.  But I have always loved that picture of him and I together, and your touch makes it that must more special.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this wonderful rememberance of our son.  And thank you for your part in helping us work toward dealing with our loss and sending us on the road to heal.  I know that Jamie is in a wonderful place, and we will see him again, just not on our timeline.

Please let me know when you make a trip to Denver.  We live in Western Nebraska, and we would love a chance to meet with you, either to go to Denver, or have you come here. (4 hours away)  We have become very good friends with the family of Fallen Soldier SGT Corey Mracek, who live only a few hours from us.  I can tell you are a very religious man, but of what faith are you?  Maybe I could work something out at our church, too. 

God bless you for your gift and your talent.  I will always treasure the beautiful drawing of my son, as well as your friendship.


I’m sitting at the keyboard, listening to Johnny Mathis.  Until you took the time to share with me the circumstances of your creating Ryan’s portrait, I’d forgotten just how much I used to listen to him, how soothing his voice is.  I immediately ordered ”The Essential Johnny Mathis,” and it came in today’s mail.  “Going Home”  is perfect for Ryan.  Life knocked him around a lot…the final disillusionment being the Army extending their deployment for an additional 3 months beyond a year of being in Iraq.  We had frequent communication…e-mail, snail mail, instant messaging, telephone calls…I remember telling my daughter not long before he was killed that I didn’t know what to say, how to lift his spirits.  I know my dad was there, when Ryan went to his final home, to embrace him.  And my son will be there to welcome me when I finally get to go home.  I’m attaching a poem I wrote a couple of months ago. 

Thanks for caring so much, Mike. 
–Mary Ann   


Mr. Reagan,

We just returned last night from a trip to Colorado and the young lady that was taking care of our house put your package on the kitchen counter.  I knew the minute I saw the package that it was the picture of Michael.  WOW!  I cannot describe the feelings that my husband and I had when we opened the package.  It was Michael looking at us with those sparkling eyes and warm smile.  You are truly a gifted artist and can capture that special look that everyone has.  Our family will always treasure this work of art and I hope that you know that you gave us back our Michael.  I will have it matted and framed to protect it and put it in a place of honor.

THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF OUR HEARTS!

Duffy and Sandy Watson (Mom to Michael Williams, Marine Lcpl, KIA 3-23-03)


Dear Michael,

Last night, Joe & Tina Norman traveled from New York to deliver us the portrait of our son, that you made for us.  Michael, as I say what I am about to say to you, I want you to know comes from my heart.

I opened our gift from you and what I saw was absolutely breathtaking.  We haven’t seen our son since his viewing on Nov. 25th, 2005, the night before his funeral.  Last night, we saw our son.  Your portrait of JT brought a room full of people to tears.  Tears of saddness, and somehow, tears of of joy.  Joy is not something that we have felt much of lately, but last night, we saw our son, and he was finally back home with us.

Your talent, is such a gift.  A gift that you share generously to families who are feeling such grief, such pain.  We will never be able to thank you enough for what you have given us.  You are generous, and your heart is full of love.  We thank you and we love you for what you have done.  If there is ever anything that we could ever do for you, anything at all, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

Thank you so very much Michael, You are a gift from God!
Peace & Blessings,

Tony & Naomi Lucente and Family


Dear Michael,

We just received the portrait of my son A.J. and I am just amazed. I feel as though I am truely gazing into my son’s eyes. You have captured my son’s likeness right down to the smallest detail. You are a very gifted man, as you already know. Yes, Our Father has given you a special talent and we are all lucky you found it. From one veteran to another, I thank you. May God always shine his light upon you and your family.

Joseph M. Baddick


Michael,

We recieved your portrait of our son Andrew today in the mail.  My first response was having to take a deep breath and saying “Oh, My God.”  The portrait is wonderful.  You especially ‘caught’ the soul in my son’s eyes [even the slight crossing he had in his right eye], and his mischievous grin.

We will immediately get this professionally mounted.  [Any hints or warnings to keep it protected properly?]

Thank you.  I can’t say that enough. You’re doing a wonderful thing here for us “Gold Star Families”

Sincerely, Mark Ehrlich


Dancing with God

When I meditated on the word GUIDANCE, I kept seeing “dance” at the end of the word. I remember reading that doing God’s will is a lot like dancing. When two people try to lead, nothing feels right. The movement doesn’t flow with the music, and everything is quite uncomfortable and jerky. When one person realizes that, and lets the other lead, both bodies begin to flow with the music. to the back or by pressing lightly in one direction or another. It’s as if two become one body, moving beautifully. The dance takes surrender, willingness, and attentiveness from one person and gentle guidance and skill from the other.

My eyes drew back to the word GUIDANCE. When I saw “G,” I thought of God, followed by “U” and “i.” “God, ‘u” and “i” dance.” God, you, and I dance. As I lowered my head, I became willing to trust that I would get guidance about my life. Once again, I became willing to let God lead! My prayer for you today is that God’s blessings and mercies be upon you on this day and everyday. May you abide in God as God abides in you. Dance together with God, trusting God to lead and to guide you through each season of your life.

This prayer is powerful and there is nothing attached. If God has done anything for you in your life, if you wish, share this message with someone, for prayer is one of the best gifts we can receive. There is no cost but a lot of rewards; so let’s continue to pray for one another.

AND I HOPE YOU DANCE!


Michael,

We receive Johnny’s portrait yesterday and I cannot begin to tell you how wonderful it is. It looks exactly like him right down to the mole on his face. We took it today to have it framed. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. God Bless you and thank you again.

Bonnie & Ed Brown


Mike:

I will pass out whatever information you want.  I tell everyone about you already.  Whatever I can do to help, I am there for you. 

I treasure your portrait you made for me. I have it in my office.  I really need to hang it in our memorial area in our family room, but I just can’t stand to think of it being so far away from me.  This Christmas has been so extremely hard for me.  I put Jeremy’s stocking up anyway and it remained empty.  I almost expected him to walk in the front door, he did not.  We visited his grave when his granddad was here.  My other two sons are here, one even went to IRAQ and just came back.  I was worried, they said that my sons did not have to go but he did.  Tim is in the NAVY and he deals with the helicopters.  He went over there for a little while and I did not know until he came back.  At least he came back!!!!!  They both love the picture your drew and are wanting it when I die.  Until then, it is MINE!!!!  I love that picture so much.

I hope your decision is what is good for you.  GOD WILL REWARD you in HEAVEN!!!!

Take care,

Debbie Drexler


Dear Sir,

I would like to personally thank you for the service that you are doing for the families of the fallen American service members. I personally have been involved in 4 conflicts throughout the world since 1993. I have seen some of my best friends killed and injured in such conflicts. I am proud of the people like you who enable us, the American soldier, to continue on with the good fight. Sometimes it may not be a big deal to some of the people who do not wish to see Americans in such conflicts, but to the American soldier like me, it is a big deal. I can only respect how a person feels about such conflicts but wish they would be more on the side of the service members as they are only following orders from the above heirarchy. If only more people would serve in the US Armed Forces, they would see how it is to be a soldier, marine, airman, or seaman. I again thank you for your courtesy and give you much thanks for it.

SGT Eugene D. Sangrey
HHT 1-14 Cavalry Squadron
Fort Lewis, WA 98433


Mike,

Your work of love continues unabated I see.  More & more requests for portraits.  God will have to sustain you as you pour out your love and wonderful talents seeking to heal those who have lost brothers and sons and grandsons defending our country.  You are a marvelous example, Mike, of the unselfishness that begets life in others. I am so proud to know you, and feel privileged that you are my friend. I keep telling my mom about all your portraits of love and she keeps praying for you.   You can’t get much better help than mom’s prayers.  You remind me of one of my favorite lines:

“What lies behind and what lies ahead
are tiny matters compared to what lies within.”

Thanks for your special brand of love, Mike.  It’s a great gift God is using to bring light to our world.  Pray for me as we enter Lent and this Holy Season of Grace.  I’m sending more & more people to heaven recently.  God could give me a rest anytime—speak to Him, PLEASE!!

Fr. John of Our Lady Queen of Heaven, Spanaway