Another soldier, gone too soon, this one killed stateside by a home-grown terrorist. This is the final portrait I will do for the American Legion Gold Star program. I think I did the first one in 2007 or 2008. Some years I painted two, other years, like this year, I painted one and another artist painted one. These posthumous paintings are a struggle for multiple reasons. The references are usually poor because even though these men are deployed there is an unvoiced expectation that they will survive and there will be plenty of time for many more pictures, so there is a dearth of good photos. Secondly, it's just too sad for me to stare into their faces for hours, knowing they'll never hug their kids, or throw a ball for their dog or even wake up and make coffee again. Their life has ended and the reason it ended makes very little sense.
Let another artist step in and continue this mission if it does indeed continue. I'm officially burnt out.
Here's Randall's obituary. He was a brave, handsome dad who will be sorely missed by his family.
April 16, 1989 - July 18, 2015
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Scott Smith, age 26, of Paulding, Ohio, stationed in Chattanooga, Tenn., selflessly sacrificed his life Saturday, July 18, 2015 in Chattanooga after protecting his fellow servicemen during the tragic events of July 16. Randall will be remembered by the heroic way in which he saved the lives of his fellow servicemen.
Randall was born April 16, 1989 in Paulding, Ohio, where he graduated from Paulding High School in 2007. Randall served with the U.S. Navy as an active duty logistics specialist on the USS Wasp in Norfolk, Va. for three years. Upon his recent re-enlistment, he was stationed at the Naval Operations Support Center in Chattanooga. He was responsible for the training and transportation of active duty Naval personnel. Randall was honored to serve on special details at the Chattanooga National Cemetery. His intentions were to retire from the Navy. He was also enrolled at Ashford University, where he was on the Dean’s List working on a degree in hospital administration.
Randall and his family were residing in Fort Oglethorpe, Ga., and attended First Baptist Church of Fort Oglethorpe, where they were active Life Group members. He was an avid sports fan cheering on his favorite teams including Duke basketball, the Tennessee Titans, University of Miami Hurricanes and the Houston Astros. He gave back to his community by serving as a volunteer for various charities including Stuff the Truck, the Chattanooga Area Food Bank, cancer awareness and by providing rescue assistance during Hurricane Sandy. He also aided in the coordination of area Christmas events for military families and donated Easter baskets to hospitalized children. He always looked for ways to help others and was never one that wanted any recognition.
Randall was a loving and devoted husband, father, son, brother and friend who will be remembered for his sense of humor, “tell-it-like-it-is” personality and infinite love for his daughters, who were by far his first priority in life.
Randall was preceded in death by his grandparents, Hiram and Catherine Smith; and mother-in-law, Renee Thomas. Hiram Smith was a U.S. Army Korean War veteran. His grandparents were very influential in his life as they were his primary caregivers.
He is survived by his loving wife of five years, Angie Smith; three small daughters, Lyla, Eila and Kyla; father, Tracy Smith; mother, Paula Proxmire; and sister, Shawna Smith.