Vonda Purvis is an honorary member of the Martinez Fire Department.
To earn the honor, she worked a 10-hour shift every day for one week. Only she wasn't carrying hoses or sliding down poles, she was whipping up a painting for the fire fighters.
Vonda Purvis recreated a picture of three firefighters raising the American flag over the site of the World Trade Center and donated it to the Martinez Fire Department.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
The Martinez resident saw a clipping of the now-famous picture of three fire fighters raising the U.S. flag at ground zero of the Sept. 11 attack and was inspired.
She made it from plywood, chicken wire, bathroom tissue, newspaper, and glue. To speed the drying up, she used a hair dryer.
"I used anything I could find around the house." Purvis said.
She presented her work to Martinez Fire Chief Doug Cooper at the Washington Road station and was told it would hang with a gold name plate with her name on it.
"She did a great job," Cooper said.
Though she has won awards for other - smaller - works, Purvis said this is the first time she's taken on a project this big. The only other work she can come close to comparing is a life size figurine of her miniature schnauzer, who got hit by a car.
"These are the two main things that I have done," Purvis said. "When something sparks me to do something, I'll do it."
Another reason for doing the painting is that she, her husband Dele, and their son Johnathon may be moving from Georgia within the year. The lifetime Columbia County resident wanted to leave something behind.
For her effort, Purvis was given a patch, hat, and T-shirt by Martinez fire fighters. That alone, she said, was worth the work.
"We ate a lot of hotdogs and hamburger helper that week," she said.
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