Now that our 6th Annual SHOUT! for Women Veterans is behind us and SHOUT! 2015 is on the horizon, we want to take a few moments to thank the 18 artists, their families, friends and the public for making this event such a huge success. This year’s event included over 50 pieces of art including photographs, digital media, watercolor and acrylic paintings, poems, and books. The artists traveled from Sacramento, Manteca, Oakdale and as far as Victorville.
We want to give a special thank you to artist Erasmo Flores III, his two beautiful daughters, and his rambunctious son for driving more than six hours from Victorville to honor his late wife Maria Flores.
Erasmo and Maria Flores learned in the Army to never give up and both took that tenet to heart when they fought the battle of their lives. Erasmo joined the Army as a combat engineer on his 19th birthday and served in Iraq twice. On his second deployment, he met Maria, a chemical specialist, who he would later marry. “The universe was telling me I wanted to be around her and make her happy,” said Erasmo.
Maria was honorably discharged from the Army in 2010 and she put all her focus on their children. She also began pursuing a degree in nursing. Erasmo was medically discharged a year later, derailing plans for a lifetime military career. He then worked as a personal trainer while pursuing a degree in architecture. “We were on our way as civilians,” said Erasmo. “We were enjoying life, reaching for our goals.” That all changed with Maria’s diagnosis of cervical cancer in 2012.
Erasmo painted “American Lulu” and “Lost In Her Eyes” as an honor and tribute to Maria Guadalupe “Lupita” Flores and all the past, present, and future brave women of the United States Armed Forces that have and will sacrifice their lives for their families and country. Giving Mr. Flores’ art a larger voice is exactly why we created our annual art show, SHOUT! for Women Veterans.
You can read more about Erasmo’s work in DAV magazine: http://magazine.dav.org/library/article/2014_02_09.pdf