Military Heroes Project

Fallen soldier honored - Tampa Bay's 10 News

http://www.tampabays10.com/video/default.aspx?aid=64218 

Town 'N Country, Florida - A fallen soldier from Tampa was honored Friday. Lance Cpl. Kevin Wruinge immigrated to America with his family when he was a teenager in 1998.

He joined the Marines when he was old enough, and was killed in Iraq in 2003. "The American Ideals Foundation" honored his family Friday during a ceremony at West Gate Baptist Church in Town 'N Country.

The foundation uses the arts to honor fallen heroes with a "Legacy" that includes "A Portrait of Life" by artist Greg Crumbly, "A Musical Portrait" by Composer/Pianist Robert Moffa, a poem by poet Gareth Schumacher and a sculpture by sculptor, Anthony Zocchi.

A memorial to a fallen Marine is unveiled
 

http://www.heraldtribuarticle/20071215/NEWS/712150487&SearchID=73306344657101ne.com/

Juanita Butte, above left, and Mary Crumbly, above right, of the American Ideals Foundation, offer comfort to Sheila Cobb as Cobb views the portrait painted in honor of her son, Christopher Cobb, for the first time Friday at the American Legion Oneco Post 312.

Christopher Cobb, a Marine from Bradenton, was killed in Iraq in 2004 at age 19. The American Legion post in Oneco has been named in his memory.

Lakeland artist Greg Crumbly, left, painted the portrait of Cobb. Crumbly, a former Army Ranger, is painting portraits of roughly 160 servicemen and women killed in Iraq. The paintings are given to their families for free.

Crumbly said he wanted to give grieving families a lasting memorial to their loved ones.

"Who carries on for them?" Crumbly asked last month.

"Who keeps them in this world? I want people to be able to say: 'This is my son. He's still with us.'"

Last modified: December 15. 2007 12:00AM

Juanita Butte, above left, and Mary Crumbly, above right, of the American Ideals Foundation, offer comfort to Sheila Cobb as Cobb views the portrait painted in honor of her son, Christopher Cobb, for . . .

For Love Of His Country

Published: June 21, 2008

Updated: 12:17 am

TOWN 'N COUNTRY - Marine Lance Cpl. Kevin Waruinge was not yet a citizen of the United States when he enlisted to fight in Iraq, but his love for this country outweighed his nationality.

Born in Kenya, he enlisted in the military in 2001 and became a U.S. citizen in 2003. His parents, Rose Waruinge and Patrick Gachau, said the military was his passion. Although he served one tour before returning to Florida to finish his studies in criminal justice at Pensacola Christian College, he soon signed up for a second tour.

It was during that tour that Waruinge lost his life. On Aug. 3, 2005, he and 13 other Marines were killed by a roadside bomb near Haditha, Iraq. He was 22.

Friday morning, about 50 people gathered at West Gate Baptist Church, 5121 Kelly Road, where Waruinge and Gachau are members, for an Honor Ceremony to remember the fallen soldier. The ceremonies are held by the American Ideals Foundation Inc. as part of their Military Heroes Project.

Gachau saw one of the honor ceremonies and contacted organization founder Robert Moffa to have one for his oldest son.

The American Ideals Foundation, which formed in 1982, recognizes fallen heroes and keeps their memories alive by presenting families with a portrait, song and poem inspired by their loved one. The foundation performs the ceremonies all over the country, free of charge. The nonprofit group offsets the costs with sponsorships, Moffa said.

During Waruinge's ceremony, Moffa composed and played "The Military Hero, Lance Cpl. Kevin Waruinge," Gareth R. Schumacher read his "Commemorative Poem," and artist Greg Crumbly painted a "Portrait of Life," that displays the Marine in his uniform surrounded by vignettes of his life.

"When I saw the painting, it brought back memories of Kevin when I was raising him as a young boy," said Rose Waruinge, of New Tampa. "It was an awesome, awesome painting. The ceremony today meant a lot to me, to see that our children are not forgotten and that what they died for is cherished by many."

Along with the painting, poem and song, the foundation also started an educational scholarship in the Marine's name: the Lance Cpl. Kevin Waruinge Scholarship Memorial Fund.

After the ceremony, family and friends headed outside to see four butterflies released in honor of Waruinge.

"I know it's something good for them to do, but it's something that hits you so hard, the emotions get affected and you find yourself going back to that place you were in, in 2005," Gachau said. "But they're doing it for families so they heal, so families behind us can learn that it's something honorable to serve our country."

Anyone interested in memorializing a fallen soldier with an Honor Ceremony should contact the American Ideals Foundation at (813) 641-2513 or www.freewebs.com/militaryheroesproject.

Reporter Angela Delgado can be reached at (813) 865-1501 or adelgado@tampatrib.com.

A memorial to a fallen Marine is unveiled
 

http://www.heraldtribuarticle/20071215/NEWS/712150487&SearchID=73306344657101ne.com/

Juanita Butte, above left, and Mary Crumbly, above right, of the American Ideals Foundation, offer comfort to Sheila Cobb as Cobb views the portrait painted in honor of her son, Christopher Cobb, for the first time Friday at the American Legion Oneco Post 312.

Christopher Cobb, a Marine from Bradenton, was killed in Iraq in 2004 at age 19. The American Legion post in Oneco has been named in his memory.

Lakeland artist Greg Crumbly, left, painted the portrait of Cobb. Crumbly, a former Army Ranger, is painting portraits of roughly 160 servicemen and women killed in Iraq. The paintings are given to their families for free.

Crumbly said he wanted to give grieving families a lasting memorial to their loved ones.

"Who carries on for them?" Crumbly asked last month.

"Who keeps them in this world? I want people to be able to say: 'This is my son. He's still with us.'"

Last modified: December 15. 2007 12:00AM

Juanita Butte, above left, and Mary Crumbly, above right, of the American Ideals Foundation, offer comfort to Sheila Cobb as Cobb views the portrait painted in honor of her son, Christopher Cobb, for . . .

In the News

Ceremony unveils painting for Marine killed in Iraq

IN ART, WAR DEAD LIVE ON

A veteran paints portraits to give to survivors of troops killed in Iraq

BY CHRISTOPHER O'DONNELL

LAKELAND -- For more than a dozen families of fallen servicemen and women, that feared knock at the door came from Greg Crumbly.  During his time as an Army Ranger, one of Crumbly's duties was to tell parents and spouses that their loved ones had been killed in combat.  But after the notification, and long after the sound of taps had faded, Crumbly was struck by how many families were left to grieve alone.  "You leave the funeral and there's a huge drop; that person is not mentioned again," said Crumbly, 49.  Crumbly retired from the Army and later became a portrait artist. Now, he is using his military experience and artistic talent to provide families of troops killed in Iraq with a lasting memorial of their loved ones.
The Lakeland artist wants to paint portraits of the roughly 160 Florida servicemen and women killed in Iraq; the paintings will be given to the families at no cost.  His first portrait will be of Christopher Cobb, a 19-year-old Marine from Bradenton who was killed while on routine patrol in Al Anbar province in Iraq in 2004.  "Who carries on for them?" Crumbly asked. " Who keeps them in this world? I want people to be able to say: 'This is my son. He's still with us.'"  And a painted portrait, he believes, carries more permanence and prominence than a photograph.  The idea for the portrait project came from Don Blair, a retired NBC radio network correspondent who lives in Venice.  "I can't think of anyone who would do it better," Blair said. "He's going to keep on painting as long as families contact us and say, 'Will you paint our loved ones?'"  The project is being coordinated by the American Ideals Foundation, a nonprofit group that promotes artists. The group is talking to Department of Defence officials to try to get the program recognized.   The money for the first two portraits has come from an anonymous donor, said American Ideals founder Robert Moffa. The group is seeking grants and donations to pay for more.  "We want to make sure that they're not forgotten, that every time they look at the the wall a smile will come to their face, not fear," Crumbly said.  On Monday afternoon, Crumbly worked on Cobb's picture, using six pictures of Cobb affixed to his drawing board as a guide.  Crumbly is planning to use a picture of Cobb in his full ceremonial uniform as the centerpiece of the painting. He will then encircle that with smaller images from Cobb's life, such as his graduation ceremony and an image showing Cobb dressed in fatigues and carrying a rifle in the desert in Kuwait.  "He's just a baby," said Crumbly, looking at the photos. "He's just a kid."  The photos were chosen by Cobb's mother, Sheila Cobb.  Talking about Christopher, even three and a half years after his death, still brings her to tears.  Photos of Christopher, her only child, cover many of the walls of her South Manatee home. In her wallet she keeps a small copy of the last photo taken of her son.  She also keeps in touch with his friends and comrades, and attends events to honor him, anything that will keep him alive in the hearts of others.  "Him being my only child, it's been hard," she said. "That's why I try to talk to a lot of his friends."  Cobb said she feels honored that her son will be the first portrait painted by Crumbly. Looking around her living room, she was already planning what photographs she might move to make space for it. 
She said she likes paintings "because they last forever. I'll find a place for it; I always do."
Last modified: November 21. 2007 4:16AM

LAKELAND -- For more than a dozen families of fallen servicemen and women, that  feared  knock at the door came from Greg Crumbly.During his time as an Army Ranger, one of Crumbly's duties was t . .

THE LEDGER / CALVIN KNIGHT

Artist Greg Crumbly, a former Army Ranger, works on a portrait of Christopher Cobb, a Marine from Bradenton who died at 19.

 

 

http://www.gregcrumbly.com/

Greg Crumbly "The Portrait Artist"

A memorial to a fallen Marine is unveiled
 

http://www.heraldtribuarticle/20071215/NEWS/712150487&SearchID=73306344657101ne.com/

Juanita Butte, above left, and Mary Crumbly, above right, of the American Ideals Foundation, offer comfort to Sheila Cobb as Cobb views the portrait painted in honor of her son, Christopher Cobb, for the first time Friday at the American Legion Oneco Post 312.

Christopher Cobb, a Marine from Bradenton, was killed in Iraq in 2004 at age 19. The American Legion post in Oneco has been named in his memory.

Lakeland artist Greg Crumbly, left, painted the portrait of Cobb. Crumbly, a former Army Ranger, is painting portraits of roughly 160 servicemen and women killed in Iraq. The paintings are given to their families for free.

Crumbly said he wanted to give grieving families a lasting memorial to their loved ones.

"Who carries on for them?" Crumbly asked last month.

"Who keeps them in this world? I want people to be able to say: 'This is my son. He's still with us.'"

Last modified: December 15. 2007 12:00AM

Juanita Butte, above left, and Mary Crumbly, above right, of the American Ideals Foundation, offer comfort to Sheila Cobb as Cobb views the portrait painted in honor of her son, Christopher Cobb, for . . .

Ceremony Set For Soldier Killed In Iraq

Published: June 18, 2008

TOWN 'N COUNTRY - Lance Cpl. Kevin Waruinge lost his life fighting for our country and, on Friday, the American Ideals Foundation Inc. is honoring him for his sacrifice.

The Honor Ceremony, part of the foundation's Military Heroes Project, takes place at 10 a.m. at West Gate Baptist Church, 5121 Kelly Road, inside the gymnasium. The event is open and free to the public.

Waruinge was among 14 Marines killed on Aug. 3, 2005, when an explosion hit his vehicle during combat south of Haditha, Iraq. He was on his second tour. His parents, Patrick and Rose Waruinge, are members of West Gate Baptist.

The foundation heard about Waruinge through Patrick Waruinge, who witnessed one of the honor ceremonies and contacted foundation founder Robert Moffa to have one done for his son.

"He and his family believe in the American ideals," Moffa said.

The American Ideals Foundation was founded in 1982 to "promote and recognize the arts and artists and to give back to the community," according to a news release. The foundation aims to recognize fallen heroes.

That's why the Honor Ceremony presents the family of the fallen soldier with "A Portrait of Life," by artist Greg Crumbly; "A Musical Portrait," by Moffa; a poem by Gareth Schumacher; and a sculpture by Anthony Zocchi, the release stated.

Butterflies will also be released in memory of Waruinge.

For information on the Military Heroes Project, go to www.freewebs.com/military heroesproject.

Reporter Angela Delgado can be reached at (813) 865-1501 or adelgado@tampatrib.com.