BALTIMORE (WJZ) — At least 108 Marylanders have died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now almost three years after one was killed in line of duty comes a heart-warming gift for his family with hopes his memory will live on.
Adam May has more.
A portrait of a fallen solider—Staff Sergeant Collin Bowen—was unveiled before friends and family.
“It really brings very happy memories,” said Ursula Bowen, widow. “We would joke around and I would make him make that expression on purpose.”
The painting brings a smile to Bowen’s wife.
The artist responsible has painted more than a 100 like portraits for other families.
“I paint in black and white for a strategic reason because the guys are no longer flesh,” said Phil Taylor, artist. “So the black and white is symbolic of the spiritual side, and I only use color for the eyes which are the window of the soul.”
Bowen was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan back in 2008. The Perry Hall resident was a father to three girls and a decorated soldier who volunteered for his last mission.
“It’s really inspiring, I hope it inspires people to (a) talk about Collin and (b) inspire other leaders to be the type of leader he was,” said Jeffery Brian Lowe, friend.
“Before he went on deployment and I was so worried about something happening to him, and he looked at me and [said] ‘Don’t worry, if something happens to me, the Army will take good care of you,’” recalled Ursula Bowen. “At the moment I said ‘Yeah, right,’ but that’s exactly what happened.”
The portrait will soon hang in a training center at Camp Fretterd, where a building is being dedicated in Bowen’s name.
Taylor is with the Fallen Soldiers Project, a nonprofit that has donated paintings since 2007.