A Tulsa artist is on a mission to give a special gift to 2-families grieving the loss of a child. Those children are Army soldiers Vanessa Guillen and Gregory Wedel-Morales -- who both went missing from Fort Hood. Their remains were found this month.
Artist Cindy Shyers has always felt connected to her art, but she says has never felt a connection like this. "I am not just looking at their pictures to paint a picture --- I am reading about who they were, the things that they liked, I am reading every article, it takes a toll, it makes you emotional," Shyers told News on 6.
Shyers is currently painting a mural for fallen soldier Greg Wedel-Morales, who went missing from Fort Hood last year. "I always start with the eyes first," Shyers explained, "because I feel like they bring a painting to life."
Just a few weeks ago, Shyers made a large mural for a vigil in Tulsa honoring fallen soldier Vanessa Guillen. Investigators found both Vanessa and Greg's remains this month.
"I, of course, jumped on that right away because of her being a Latina and a soldier, it makes me so emotional," Shyers admitted.
Shyers says she never thought project would be personal and explains how she felt the families' pain with each brushstroke. "I heard her mom's voice in my head, it was hard," Shyers said with tears in her eyes, "As a mom, I couldn't imagine being told your daughter is gone."
Shyers said through that emotion and reading about their lives, she hopes to help others remember Greg and Vanessa and also help their families heal.
"As a mom myself, to think the way that these moms have gotten their children taken away and they got no answers," Shyers cried, "I feel like I want to use my art to make a difference and be heard."
Shyers says she plans on sending the murals to both Vanessa and Greg's families. Greg's funeral will be held on Thursday and he will be buried with full military honors. Investigators have not made any leads in their investigation.