Texas Portrait Artist Receives White House Recognition

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- A Texas artist who fled to Florida during Hurricane Harvey visited the White House today. He brought with him paintings of the latest Medal of Honor recipient and the chief of staff’s fallen son.

Monday afternoon, President Trump awarded the nation's highest honor to retired U.S. Army Captain Gary "Mike" Rose for tremendous courage during the Vietnam War.

“He refused treatment until all of his men had been cared for first. In every action during those four days, Mike valiantly fought for the life of his comrades, even if it meant the end of his own life," said President Donald Trump.

Portrait artist Ken Pridgeon of the Houston area was one of the guests in the White House East Room. Pridgeon - an Air Force veteran - received an invitation to make the journey because he's painted Rose, and other heroes.

“I paint these portraits because the family deserves to have a remembrance of their son or daughter who gave it all for us," said Pridgeon.

During Hurricane Harvey, Pridgeon escaped Texas to his hometown — outside Tallahassee — and he kept painting. While in Florida, he decided to honor a Florida Marine killed in the line of duty.

Pridgeon says he didn't connect the dots until later that it was the White House Chief of Staff's son, Robert.

“That’s all I was concerned about was he was one of the fallen of Florida, and I was going to paint him," explained Pridgeon.

Pridgeon says he will also paint others from Rose's unit. For him, these efforts fit into his life's philosophy.

"it’s joy, peace and happiness - it’s helping others, not expecting anything in return," said Pridgeon.

This is Pridgeon's first trip to DC. While he's here, he plans to also visit the Arlington National Cemetery and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Even though Pridgeon's home was wiped out, by the hurricane, his work continues. His Texas gallery - Portrait of a Warrior - has run out of space but his painting continues.

Read the original version of this article at www.graydc.com.

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