Families mourn while community honors fallen Kern heroes during portrait unveiling

Local News

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The 20th anniversary of 9/11 is on Saturday and groups from around the county have planned events and memorials for this special day.

But before 9/11, Bakersfield’s Portrait of a Warrior Gallery hosted its own event honoring those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

Portrait of a Warrior Gallery unveiled two new portraits of Kern heroes who died defending this nation.

Angel Ramirez’s portrait is one of the additions to the Portrait of A Warrior Gallery in Downtown Bakersfield.

This portrait was unveiled in front of his family. Members of Ramirez’s family said the painting perfectly captures his eyes which makes it that much more real.

Real is the same term used to describe David Perry’s portrait, the second addition to the gallery.

“It’s fantastic to see the artist’s rendering,” Josua Dhanens an Iraq Veteran and friend of David Perry said. “It brings him to life in a way. You get him back for a little bit through a picture. So it’s really really special. Seeing his family and their reaction is really amazing

Perry’s wife and his son were not able to come in person so instead they watched the unveiling over a video call.

Perry died in 2003 during service in Iraq when a package exploded.

{Jason Geis // Executive Director of Portrait of a Warrior Gallery}
Jason Geis: “You saw how emotional it was for her to see the portrait be unveiled,” Jason Geis the executive director of the Portrait of a Warrior Gallery said. “Now the community can see the portrait and our mission here is to always remember and never forget as well as to keep the living memory and legacy of these 27 warriors from our community who died on the battlefield alive.”

The artist, Nellie Scarborough, creates these portraits for free and the paintings can take weeks to create.

“My heart breaks for them,” Scarborough said. “That’s all. There but for the grace of God could have been my son. Their child gave all and left them behind and that’s all.”

Portrait of the Warrior Gallery will host a larger event on Saturday, the evening of 9/11.

They will project the images of the two newest portraits outside for the people of Bakersfield to see.

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