Thursday, December 16, 2010

Home Town Soldier

           SPC Edward S. Kieffer

When my brother enlisted in the United States Army shortly after the attack on the World Trade Center, I had no idea what this meant for our family, since my focus was on fighting a different battle.  I had been diagnosed with cancer earlier that year and was on a regiment of chemotherapy and radiation.  My brother wanted to spend as much time with me as he could before he left for Boot Camp so he drove me to my chemo treatments. The time we had together was very precious to me. I guess when he left home we were both wondering the same thing. Would we ever see each other again? We both fortunately completed our regiments and my brother asked me if I would put his cord on his uniform at his "Turning Blue" ceremony. So we borrowed a van from a friend and the whole family headed to Ft. Benning, Georgia to witness this milestone in my youngest brother's life. I was never more proud of him in my life.  I prayed for him every day. I asked God to put a hedge of protection around him and keep him safe.  A number of weeks went by and he was still in a holding pattern, waiting to be deployed.  After six weeks of waiting I received a phone call from my brother. He said, "I didn't join the Army to stay in the States, I want to go where I'm needed".  I said, "Maybe my prayers are keeping you from being deployed. I'm going to start praying differently. Instead of praying for my brother's protection I asked God to give him the desire of his heart.  He called me in 2 days and said, "I'm going over"!

While he was in active duty I was fortunate enough to be able to instant message with him.  It helped me to keep my mind off of my own issues and focus on meeting his needs through prayer.  I remember many nights I couldn't sleep, so I'd go to my knees in prayer for him.  A few days later I'd get a message about a mission he was on and how God spared him from an unfortunate incident. 

After his first or second return home, I was able to take some photos of my brother in his uniform. So when he returned to active duty I began working on a portrait of him.  Most people don't realize how much time goes into creating a portrait. Especially one that an artist is not being paid to do.  But I felt that my brother was worthy of that honor. And although I haven't found the time to add all the ribbons and metals that he has earned since that time, I wanted to share his military portrait with other family members who are waiting for their loved ones to come home.  I would love to honor your soldier with a portrait.  Email photos to  or visit and click on the Portraits to see a portfolio of my work.  As long as God gives me life I will use my talent to glorify Him.

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