HOPEWELL - An artist used her God-given talent to create a painting after watching the incredible video of the American flag being rescued during the raging fire that destroyed the iconic, decades-old Hopewell Moose Lodge on February 28, 2019.
The viral video captured a heroic act of patriotism. During the blazing inferno, Hopewell Fire and Rescue Chief Donny Hunter was lowering the flag with firefighter Timmy Cibula’s assistance while firefighter Jamie Bridgeman was off to the side with the hose line. The Virginia state flag was also rescued by the firefighters.
Artist Allie Lull of Southport, N.C. was inspired to paint the patriotic scene.
“As soon as I saw it, I was like ... oh, I need to paint that,” said Lull who has been painting since second grade. “It was amazing.”
“I’m a painter that goes for the feeling of things rather than exact detail,” explained Lull. “The smoke in the air obliterates a lot of the details except for the flag.”
Lull used oil over acrylic on her original she titled "Patriotic Rescue," which is presently on display at The Artisans Gallery on Howe in Southport.
“There are about 17 layers on the original painting,” described Lull. “When you look at a fire, it doesn’t necessarily have opacity; you can see through it. That’s what I was trying to do.”
Lull and her husband Bruce delivered and unveiled the first signed print of "Patriotic Rescue" on Monday to the Hopewell Visitor Center. Attendees included Hopewell/Prince George Chamber of Commerce CEO Becky McDonough, Chief Hunter, Hopewell Fire & Rescue Fire Marshal Captain Jamie Scott, and Hopewell Moose Family Center 1472 Governor Joey McCaffrey.
McCaffrey thanked Lull for donating her artwork to the lodge, and Hunter expressed how he would like to obtain a print also to hang in the station.
“My three nephews are firefighters, and our kids are in law enforcement,” said Lull. “We fly that flag with the red and white stripes proudly.”
“We saved the flag as a symbol of hope,” said Hunter.
According to McCaffrey, the rescued flag will fly on opening day and will then be placed in a display case.
I asked McCaffrey if the lodge has a place in mind to hang the special gift. He said the artwork may possibly hang in the main office so members and guests can view it upon entry to the lodge.
Demolition on the charred remains of the 1954 structure began on May 16, 2019, and the state-of-the-art premier Moose Lodge's end completion date was for the first of the year with hopes of operating by Christmas, according to Administrator Brad Ozmore.
"We are actually two to three weeks ahead of schedule," said Ozmore.
“Now, I know how to build a building which I really didn’t want to know,” said McCaffrey wittingly.
“I didn’t want you to have to know that skill either,” quipped Hunter.
According to the Hopewell Moose Family Center website, member tours of the new facility will be offered beginning Nov. 5, before the men's meeting.
Lull wants people to focus on the patriotic act.
"This painting is about the firefighters' deed, not the painter," said Lull.
To view the artwork presentation and interview with Lull, visit progress-index.com.
For more information, visit hopewellmooselodge.com, and to learn more about the artist, visit allielullart.com.
You can reach reporter Kristi K. Higgins at email@example.com. Follow her @KHiggins_PI.