DALLAS (CBS11) – The 43rd President of the United States is giving back to the bravest men and woman in a unique way.
Former President George W. Bush is repaying injured military veterans with the stroke of a paint brush.
“It’s pretty amazing, pretty surreal,” said Jason Stamer, a U.S. Army veteran who served from 1995 to 2015.
It was humbling enough for Stamer to see himself in a painted form. But it was the person behind each brush stroke that left him nearly speechless.
“I know a lot of these guys and what they’ve went through,” said Stamer. “Not a lot of words can describe it for me.”
Stamer was ambushed in 2011 during a mounted patrol in Afghanistan. Nearly his entire body was wounded by shrapnel. His driver that day did not make it out alive.
“Unfortunately, that’s what happens in war,” said Stamer. “It’s a tough pill to swallow sometimes.”
The transition from war to real life was not always easy.
“It’s kind of like, is your career over now?” questioned Stamer.
While he struggled, Stamer found treatment… some of which included golf with other injured military vets.
It was through a golf tournament how he came to know President George W. Bush.
“We were dealt a bad hand and he’s going to continue serving veterans because we served the country,” said Stamer.
The Bush Center started compiling photos of wounded warriors. Stamer submitted his photo and was chosen.
“He’s right in the book, I painted him,” joked President Bush at his book signing on Monday. “He looks a lot better in person.”
Hundreds lined up outside a rainy Bush Center on Monday to meet President Bush and walk away with a signed book. Stamer was among the crowd.
“The time that he puts in is truly remarkable,” said Stamer.
While he is honored by the former President’s artistic gesture, Stamer hopes those looking at all the brave men and women in the exhibit see beyond the colors and shapes.
“Know the stories,” said Stamer. “What can you do to help our veterans?”
The exhibit, “Portraits of Courage,” runs through October 1.