One of West Michigan’s fallen Iraq war heroes honored in ArtPrize

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - One of West Michigan's first war heroes killed in Iraq is being honored in an emotional painting at ArtPrize, raising awareness about active duty military families.

"The Weight of Time" is more than just tapestries and oil pastels. It's an art piece telling the story of those forced to say goodbye to a spouse and praying they come home safe from war. That's the story of Rick Herrema, a Special Forces Green Beret from Hudsonville, who never came home from Iraq.

"He went to Unity Christian High and went into the military before turning Special Forces after 911," said Herrema's mother, Mary. "He was the first soldier from West Michigan killed in action, shot after getting off a helicopter during his deployment in 2006, a head wound."

"The Weight of Time" is a dedication to Herrema's life and the valor he left behind. The piece has 18 separate tapestries depicting war time imagery with family values, an ever-tiring clash for military families. The artist, Angelina Woehr, knows the struggles of deployment. Her husband, Herrema's best friend, has been deployed six times.

"It's the uncertainty, the never knowing," said Woehr. "It's hard when you can't share life together."

Woehr and her husband are now dedicating their lives to building a resort center for military families in North Carolina called "Rick's Place." It's a place where Rick Herrema's values will live on forever. The Woehr's hope to preserve the sacred bond of marriage while their loved ones fight for freedom.

"This is not just about me but the thousands of others as a family who want to stay healthy," said Woehr.

"The Weight of Time" is for sale and all proceeds go to Rick Heerema's Foundation.

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5 comments

  • Common Cents

    People that went off to fight in Iraq are cowards. They shrugged their god-given responsibility to determine right action from wrong action and followed the orders of anyone above them. I have no sympathy for any results of the actions that they committed because nobody forced them to perform immoral deeds. They were coerced by a paycheck and the ideal of valor which are just the ego and the id saying “this looks like a fine way to survive.” Instead, they should have been asking, “is this right?”

  • Jay

    You are not a hero you invaded another country killed innocent women and children you are a slave for the elite that’s why you do what you’re told and don’t ask questions your a puppet

  • Jay

    Where were all you military men at when are freedom was being taken away? when they signed the patriot act? You guys took an oath to uphold the Constitution the patriot act violates all of our constitutional rights but instead you were in another country as all of our freedoms are being taken away thanks

  • Jay

    The real military heroes from Iraq and Afghanistan are The ones that came back and outed what was really going on over there which was genocide

  • Voice of Experience

    To the individuals below, you are free to speak such things because of the sacrifices of men like Rick and countless others. You’re obviously of the cafe and barista crowd, or so called “keyboard warriors.” Get off this post!