GIBBON, Neb. — A little after 3 p.m. on a recent Sunday, artist Drue Waldron of Kearney, cheering with Forde Holl’s family and friends, stepped back from the mural he’d finished painting on the Holls’ garage.
He painted the mural with 4-year-old Forde, and they raised $311 for the Gibbon Food Bank. Forde has spent months drawing pictures to raise money for Crossroads Center Rescue Mission in Kearney, and Waldron suggested they team up to support the local food bank. The work began the day before.
“We did have people stop, even with the rain,” Forde’s mom, Lea Ann Holl, said.
The weather kept Waldron from working on the mural that first day, but visitors could still buy one of Forde’s paintings and be entered to win a $50 gift certificate donated by Apple Market of Kearney. Lea Ann was touched by the contribution.
“We didn’t ask for a donation,” she said. “We have a lot of people to thank.”
Eileen’s Cookies and Little Caesars donated refreshments, and Builders donated small helicopter toys to pass out to kids. Visitors, in addition to giving money, donated 105 items to the food bank. Forde’s older sister Siera painted faces, and Forde had a small card table set up where she painted her pictures.
Forde has started preschool, but she still paints about 10 pictures every evening when she comes home.
“When I get back from school, I’m not tired,” she said. “(I’m) painting pictures because it’s nice to help people.”
Forde has been painting for more than two months, and she says she is still having fun. She has her own stamp, a heart with “Forde” written inside, to autograph her pictures.
That Sunday, the sun came out and Waldron worked more than four hours to finish the mural.
Waldron has completed four other murals. Forde, along with some neighborhood kids, helped him on this one. He used spray-paint, easily touching up any mistakes.
“(You) can’t screw anything up so bad you can’t spray over it,” he said.
Lea Ann said she had no second thoughts about putting a mural on her garage. When Waldron suggested the idea, she said she’d give him the entire west side. She did have to convince her husband, Mike.
“This is about (Forde) wanting to help,” she told him.
He agreed, so they contacted the city of Gibbon to ask permission. The city approved their request.
“They told him to go for it,” Lea Ann said.
Grandma Dorothy Holl of Kearney said she was proud of Forde. She took a painting home to frame.
For those interested in purchasing Forde’s work, Little Reflections photography studio in Kearney’s Hilltop Mall has a portfolio of her paintings that are for sale. All proceeds go to Crossroads Center Rescue Mission in Kearney.