I was contacted via my website from a woman that lived in the neighborhood.  She had seen my name and work on Facebook from neighbors and knew of me from the same school our children attend.  She was interested in getting a sketch of her Brother’s home in Texas.  The only problem was, she did not have a picture of the home, and her Brother & Sister in-law are deployed in Iraq.

Major Jason Railsback & his wife, Major Greta Railsback are on their second deployment.  Jason is the Battalion Executive Officer for the 20th Engineer Battalion.  His battalion is in charge of route clearance patrols for his region, daily activities of the battalion, and supervises all battalion staff sections.   Greta works at United States Forces – Iraq Headquarters located in Baghdad at Camp Victory in the Force Headquarters.  She does the General/Flag Officer and senior leader management for USF-I and personnel planning and operations for the Iraq Theater.

No photograph did not pose a problem for me; I have completed illustrations using Google Maps – Street View.   I just needed the address and presto, a great street shot of the home.  She had a few candid pictures from Facebook too.  OK, I can do this, with the combination of the various pictures, no problem.  I found the image, created a screen shot and off I went drawing.

Upon completion, I emailed a proof.  She forwarded it onto her Mother, as her Mom had visited this summer.  Jolie informed me that I had illustrated the wrong home!  What?  I investigated further and found that Google Maps was incorrect.  The entire street was off and I drew the neighbor’s home.

Well, this was a first, the wrong house, with the right address.  I am deep into December, and with no time to back track, I have established a first-come, first-serve queue.  I am able to that way; give a ‘promise by date.’  I maintain tight deadlines during December; people are giving illustrations as gifts.  I told Jolie that I would need to put her on the bottom of the pile.  She agreed to wait, as she was actually emailing the illustration to her Brother, and Kabul, Afghanistan is nearly 18 hours ahead of East-Coast Time.  Printing, matting and framing were not necessary.

I pushed on with my other illustrations and was able to come back to Jolie’s gift.  The correct house was found and sketched.  Another proof was emailed and confirmed to be correct.  That neighbor is actually caring for the home too, which is ironic.  She proposed to actually have her Brother purchase the illustration from me and give to the neighbor as a ‘thank-you gift.’  I thought that was a wonderful idea!

I actually decided to donate the illustration to her Brother & Sister in-law.  They are both soldiers who are giving service to our country.  That is a wonderful and gracious thing to do.  I thought I could honor their work by contributing mine.

Christmas morning, Major Jason Railsback & his wife, Major Greta Railsback are able to feel a bit of their Texas home love.

Brenda Priest
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