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Request a Portrait

Original portraits are provided free of charge to military families that have lost a military family member related to the war on terror.  The fallen hero need not have given his or her life in the combat zone.


The portrait is a custom drawing between 13.5 and 15 inches wide and between 18 and 20 inches tall of your loved one’s face from the shoulders on up.  This is not a size meant for frame preparation. Gold Star families should wait until they receive their portrait before they cut mats for framing. We suggest double matting each portrait, using acid free mats and ultraviolet glass to protect the portrait.  These are standard practices and the framer should be very familiar with them.

Original portraits will be provided one per family on a first-come, first-served basis.  A digital image of the original portrait is also available to you at your request.  This image is useful for making reprints, reproducing images on t-shirts or other ways of honoring your fallen hero.


Here is what you need to do to request a portrait:


1).  Please send at least one very clear photo of your fallen hero to Gold Star Dad Eric Herzberg at  Ensure the photo shows his or her eyes.  That’s the most important for Michael to see clearly. Michael will enlarge the image of your fallen hero's face to about 6 inches when he draws.  If the photo is too small or does not have a high clarity, it will be blurry when enlarged.  If you can’t decide on just one photo and would like to let Michael decide, send a couple of clear ones.  

Please look here for an example of a great photo.


2).  Please send a one-page, written biography about your fallen hero. This will serve two purposes:  it will allow Michael to know your loved one better before he draws them and it will serve as the basis for the biographical information that will go on your loved one’s individual memorial page on this website once the portrait is completed.  This biography could include some comments from you, information from news articles, letters they wrote, etc. You can attach it to the same e-mail as the photo you send.


3).  Please also include the mailing address to which you want the portrait sent.  Michael’s current portrait backlog is significant due to the volume of requests.  When he draws your fallen hero, he will spend a great deal of time getting to know them.  This is one of the reasons that so many families express that Michael’s portraits mean so much more to them than just the image of their loved ones.   When you receive the portrait, please contact Michael through his e-mail ( or write him a letter.  He really does love each Gold Star family and would appreciate hearing from you.

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