WATCH: ‘Uvalde Angels’
Apr 2, 2023, 12:00 PM
On Tuesday, May 24, 2022, the unthinkable happened at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. A gunman rushed the school, killing 19 children and two teachers.
That night, 1,300 miles away in Huntsville, Utah, 78-year-old JR Johansen was watching the news and saw the horrific story. He wondered what could be done for the grieving families.
Johansen, a Vietnam vet who has experienced his own grief, is an incredible artist. He has dedicated years of service, painting portraits of missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who lost their lives while serving — all free of charge.
He thought of these children in Uvalde, wondering if there was any way to capture their sweet images on canvas. Coincidently, his brother and sister-in-law lived in Texas, and called him days later to see if he would be willing to paint individual portraits for all 21 victims. They would make arrangements to get him photos of each child and a short bio to help Johansen get to know them better.
Immediately, Johansen went to work, and within months, was able to personally deliver the portraits to each of the 21 families. It was a massive undertaking that left an indelible impression on Johansen that will last forever.