A painting that was originally commissioned to raise money for the families of firefighters who perished in the attacks of 9/11 is continuing its journey through San Diego County fire houses. The painting, which was presented to the Encinitas Fire Station No. 2 on September 11, 2015, moved to its second stop at the San Marcos Fire Station No.1 on December 11, 2015.
Pacific Sotheby’s Realty agent Wendy Moldow purchased the 3-foot by 4-foot oil painting at a benefit for the Wounded Warrior Foundation. After hearing the history behind the painting, Moldow was so moved she felt that it needed to be shared with those that it honored. “The painting represents an opportunity to honor our first responders and their courage as they risk their lives for us every day,” says Moldow.
San Marcos Fire Chief Brett VanWey and his crew at Fire Station No. 1 were elated that their fire house was chosen to host the painting for the next three months. Along with Moldow and members of the San Marcos City Council, Dr. Neomi Balinth, past President of the New York State Psychological Association and an original first responder on scene at Ground Zero, attended the painting’s transfer to the second Fire Station. Dr. Balinth, who now resides in San Diego, heard about the traveling painting and wanted be involved and share her stories and experiences about 9/11.
The painting itself has already traveled thousands of miles. Shortly after the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, Carlsbad artist Kelly Lucas was commissioned to paint and then deliver the piece to New York City, where it was auctioned off to raise money for the families of fallen firefighters.
A restaurateur purchased the painting for more than $30,000, but said when he hung it in his restaurant it made people too emotional. He decided to return it to the artist, still pleased with his donation.
Moldow came across the painting about a year ago when Lucas organized a Wounded Warriors fund-raising event at Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty in Encinitas — Moldow’s workplace.
The painting which is officially titled, “Traveling 9/11 Memorial Painting,” will remain at the San Marcos Fire Station for 3 months at which time it will move to another San Diego County Fire Station.