I know that this event is a little way off, but, I just got word of this wonderful donation for this upcoming event and wanted to share it with you. Please save the date!
Debbie Melchin Hutchinson is the cousin of AAVENGE founder, Cindy VanLandegen. A gifted artist, she painted this portrait especially for an AAVENGE fundraising event.
After the events of September 11th, her son Ray Joseph Hutchinson joined the United States Military as a member of the 101st Airborne Screaming Eagles and was deployed to Iraq. Ray Joseph represented the best of what this country has to offer, the men and women of the United States military. He loved God, his family, and his country. When his grandmother became very ill, Ray Joseph was granted emergency leave to return to Texas. Not wanting to bump another soldier off of a scheduled flight, he decided to wait until the next flight out of Iraq. While on patrol, Ray Joseph made the ultimate sacrifice on December 7, 2003, when at the age of 20 he was killed by a roadside bomb. He died a hero, and now stands in the presence of God.
To honor his memory, his parents Debbie and Michael established the Ray Joseph Hutchinson Foundation. This not- for- profit organization raises funds to provide college scholarships for students of the Clear Creek school district that Ray Joseph attended. The foundation’s major fundraiser each year is called “Salute to Heroes”. For this event, Debbie paints original military themed portraits which are used as silent auction items. To date, the foundation has awarded over $60,000 in college scholarships to worthy recipients.
In both Afghanistan and Iraq, there are many homeless dogs who have been “adopted” by military personnel. In many cases, these dogs would have been left to starve or be killed had the military not taken them in. They serve as loving and loyal companions for soldiers who face peril, stress and homesickness during their long deployments. It is not without great expense and a lot of red tape that many of these dogs come back to America to begin a new life with the soldiers who rescued them.
This portrait, titled “Kelsey’s Buddy” is a salute to the brave men and women of the United States military who protect us, and to man’s best friend. The little puppy in the painting is based on a photograph of Cindy VanLandgen’s dog, Kelsey.
For info on how to purchase raffle tickets for the painting,
e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us at the doggie wash!