It started with a conversation over dinner this past spring in San Antonio, TX with a remarkable man who shared his story, retired U.S. Army Sgt. Mario Lopez. After the Sept 11th attacks, Mario joined the Army and was deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan. During a mission in 2008, a 3-ton IED burned over 54% of his body, took his right arm (he was right-handed), his right eye, and four fingers on his left hand. During his recovery at the San Antonio Medical Center, Mario began painting, learning how to physically use his left arm, how to comprehensively view life through one eye, and how to communicate beauty through brokenness. Mario revealed, “My art is the action I take to give back to the human community, showing all that no matter what, life is worth living.”

As he refined his art, Mario discovered a very talented local community of veteran artists. Mario had a vision to gather this talent for a “Veteran Art Exhibit”. DAWSON was honored to help bring the vision to life on Friday, November 2nd on campus at San Antonio A&M, who purchased one of the larger pieces by emerging artist, veteran, and mother, Brandi Hartigan.

The military community is dear to DAWSON’s heart. We recognize and esteem their daily sacrifices. To name just a few: Mark Lee and his volunteer service with the Centurion Military Alliance (CMA) helps men, women, and spouses with the transition from military to civilian life; Wil Slora whose family faithfully serves at The Fisher House of South Texas year round; Alan Reynolds who has broken ground to serve the young families at Fort Sam Elementary School. It’s an unmitigated privilege to know and work alongside them. We wish all our veterans a very celebratory Nov 11th, Veteran’s Day!