Friday, March 5, 2010

Honoring heros Daniel & Benjamin

Wayne & Gwen Olsen hold their oil painting of their son, Daniel Olsen, who died in Saqlawiyah, Iraq in April 2007 while protecting some Iraqi police with his Marines group. Jill Stephenson shows her oil painting of Benjamin Kopp, her son who died at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington D.C. in July 2009 following an attack in Southern Helmand, Afghanistan while working with his Army Ranger Special Operations team. Daniel graduated from Eagan High School and Benjamin was a Rosemount High School graduate.

Kaziah Hancock has painted many fallen US soliders as a gift to their surviving families. She's an artist living on a goat farm in Manti, Utah. Eight families recently received these oil paintings and Kare 11 TV News featured the story this week.


  1. God bless and protect the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces; past and present.
    Thank you the sacrifices you have made, so I can live freely.
    Daniel and Ben, meet me at the gate when I get there. Love you forever.
    Gwen Olsen

  2. The paintings are a wonderful gesture.

    I can't imagine what some families go through. Incredible.

  3. I agree with Kitty...

    This is so moving. War is the most horrible thing on earth.

  4. If these paintings bring some comfort to the families, I say more power to her!

    Re: Allison and stand-up comedy - I read her stuff and fall down laughing. Is that what you mean by "stand up"? Sheesh. And whenever I read what you write, I always make sure I'm sitting down...that's 'cause I tend to go to sleep. Yawn.

    You've heard I'm sure what the Norwegian wife said to Ole when the egg he was eating missed his mouth and dribbled down his chin ...

    "Hey, Ole, the yoke's on you!"

    Okay, it's pretty bad, but I just made it up and it's early in the morn here. You'll have to excuse me now, 'cause we're going to the spa to exercise and then I've got to go hit golf balls.

  5. This breaks my heart. How sad to lose a child to something as pointless as war. :(

    I am glad this artist has donated her time and talent to keeping the memories of those men alive. That's very kind of her.

  6. Thanks to all who take it upon themselves to share the stories of our sons who willingly wrote a check to the United States of America for their lives so that we can live free.
    It means so much to know Daniel and Ben have not been forgotten. My prayers will never end for those of us that have paid the ultimnate price, for those that still serve and for fine folk like Leif who take the time to remember us and remind the masses.
    Signed~ Ben Kopps mother

  7. I can't read material like this without becoming emotional. These young men are not much older than the students I taught for years at SPA, and I cannot imagine a world without them. Young lives cut short for any reason makes me weep. May the parents of all the young men and women whose lives are lost in war be held in the cradle of our arms!

  8. "All gave some. Some gave all."

    «Louis» salutes the families of these brave men.

  9. Es ist das Traurigste und Unvorstellbarste, was Eltern passieren kann, wenn die eigenen Kinder sterben. Und vor allem, wenn es ein so sinnloser Tod ist.

    Monica from the Principality of Liechtenstein

  10. Everytime I'm confronted with situations like this I can't help having a revolting feeling! Wars are much more than just sad...

  11. KAZIAH’S MESSAGE TO POST TO: Leif Hagen’s blog March 5, 2010

    I have respect for the men and women of our military, for at trying to make the world a better and safer place. I grieve the loss that these parents are left to endure. Every portrait of our fallen heroes, are painted with love and respect. I will never take their courage, for granted.

    There has always been an extremely high cost in America, for all the blessings that we enjoy! If I have any influence on Americans, I would beg them – DO NOT WASTE! DO NOT WAISTE YOU’R TIME! DO NOT WAISTE YOUR TALLENTS! DO NOT WAIST FOOD! DO NOT WAIST ENERGY! DO NOT WAIST ANY MATERIALS! May we show kindness to one another and walk with humility. Be grateful that bombs and machines’ guns are not riddling through our neighborhood.


  12. Sometimes life is too hard to cope with.

  13. Kaziah's comment and her paintings are a strong statement.

  14. I think Kaziah Hancock deserves all our admiration for undertaking such a painful theme. I'm not sure I'd have the strength to do it, look at those young faces every day, knowing they're gone.

  15. Absolutely wonderful !! I feel twitches running up my leg like Chris on MSNBCs "Hardball".....but for a very different reason.... GOD BLESS !

    Andy in Woodland Ca

  16. The paintings are beautiful. What a wonderful thing for the artist to do.

  17. I am not at ease when someone pontificates about a world without war. Everybody with a heart wishes that, but everybody who has a brain knows that this is not possible. History says that.
    Honor to these fallen soldiers, hoping that their sacrifice will not be in vain.
    I hope these paintings may help their families to cope with their terrible loss.

  18. What a beautiful gift she gives!

  19. March 10th, 2010
    Jill Stephenson, Wayne and Gwen Olsen – And to all the families of the eight fallen heroes that Kaziah presented portraits too, March 1st, 2010. This is Kenna – I want you all to know that I watched the internet, KARE 11, and media like a crazy that day! (March 1st, 2010). When the time reached 1:01 pm – on my computer clock – I was sitting here at my desk- going absolutely crazy as I would have given anything to be at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in St. Paul – with Kaziah and all of the wonderful Minnesota families who I have been communicating with- these past few months! I want you all to know that it was a true privilege and honor to watch Kaziah paint and create her art –by capturing eight brave heroes, eight different personalities. To feel the love and the sprit that each hero was here to offer, then when Kaziah took each portrait, one by one and packaged them up to go home. I feel as if I had a form of separation anxiety as I missed them. I felt lonely, as each one, was leaving this office/home and art studio, to be with their families. I enjoyed each one of them, what they had to offer me, in my heart! Please know that I, along with all of Project Compassions artist- feel it a privilege and honor to get to know these heroes! Our lives will be forever greater for knowing and feeling the love that they have for their families. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful piece of your world with us, with me! To these eight families, the way they communicated with me- with true heart! I am forever in your debt. You will always hold a piece of my heart.
    Feel free to contact me anytime as it has truly been my pleasure and honor!
    With Love,


Thanks for your sassy, funny, clever, serious or encouraging comment! Tack sa mycket, merci beaucoup, vielen Dank, domo arigato, grazie mille, tusen takk, ansante sana, terima kasih, obrigado, Dank U wel, kiitos paljon!