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MILITARY MATTERS: Veteran’s Daughter Does Portrait of Medal of Honor Recipient & Columbus Colonel

Updated: Jun. 14, 2021 at 7:28 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - On the heels of a Colonel in Columbus recently receiving the Medal of Honor, we wanted to introduce you to a local artist, nearly 4 times younger than him, that will be part of his legacy.

Born nearly 50 years after this soldier’s heroics in the Korean War, visual artist Bunny Hinzman was honored to have a special guest in her Columbus Historic District art studio: Retired Army Colonel Ralph Puckett, just before he received the nation’s highest military honor.

“We had a medal of honor actually brought into the studio and he wore that for some live sketching, and that was really moving to be able to do that,” visual artist Bunny Hinzman said.

And this portrait she did of the war hero is the first piece in a feature series Hinzman is commissioned to do by the National Infantry Association - of past and present Medal of Honor recipients from the Army infantry.

“I’m very honored to be able to honor these incredible Medal of Honor recipients through my art,” Hinzman said.

Born in Honolulu, Hinzman moved around the country thanks to her dad being in the Army, saying she saw his passion and patriotism. Now, the 24-year-old expresses her appreciation for other military families - with her art.

She told us, “My dad was an officer in the Army, so growing up with that experience, being able to really appreciate what these incredible men and women do for our country, the sacrifices that they made...is hugely humbling and just a blessing to be able to celebrate these incredible people.”

She’s talkng about people like 94-year-old Colonel Puckett, who back in 1950, took on enemy machine guns, leading his Army Rangers in deadly battle against Chinese soldiers, badly wounded – and talking about it some to Hinzman.

“I got to hear some of his incredible stories and get to know this American icon, it was such a blessing,” Hinzman said. " He is such a incredible man. He is such a humble person as well. He and his wife are both such lovely people.”

She got to know them at first through Puckett’s wife, also an artist and designer. Hinzman’s chalk portrait of the now Medal of Honor recipient will be on display soon.

“They have a case in the National Infantry Museum, in the Ranger Hall of Fame, that honors Colonel Puckett,” Hinzman said. “So many soldiers, young and old, come through (NIM) and it’s so great to be able to be able to reach an audience of service members and their families.”

Her work, his face set to be at the National Infantry Museum, next to Fort Benning, inspiring others for years to come.

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