In his retirement, Bush has taken up painting. He often paints the portraits of wounded warriors, and they are the subject of his upcoming book, “Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors,” which will be released later this month.
Bush’s share of the proceeds from the book will benefit the Military Service Initiative at the George W. Bush Presidential Center, which helps post-9/11 veterans and their families transition to civilian life.
Over the past several months, I’ve painted the portraits of 98 wounded warriors I’ve gotten to know – remarkable men and women who were injured carrying out my orders. I think about them on #VeteransDay and every day. Their paintings and stories will be featured in PORTRAITS OF COURAGE – a book and special exhibit – next spring, and I am donating all my proceeds to @thebushcenter and our Military Service Initiative’s work to honor and support them. Click link in bio for more info.
“Today” will air a two-part interview with Bush beginning Feb. 27, but in the meantime, they are profiling some of the veterans featured in the book in a video series.
The first video features 1st Lt. Melissa Stockwell, an Iraq War veteran who lost her left leg during her service in 2004.
Stockwell said that years later, at an event Bush held for wounded veterans, she jokingly asked him to dance, and he agreed.
“It was a moment that was really, really special for me, to dance with the president,” Stockwell said. “So to have him actually choose to paint that moment is pretty remarkable.”
“I can’t stop smiling when I see it,” she added.
Stockwell said she is proud of her service to the country, and she decorated her prosthetic leg in red, white and blue.
She said the ordeal of losing her leg ultimately led her to push herself to become a better athlete. She competed in the Rio Paralympics last year.
On Instagram, Bush wrote he is “relieved” Stockwell likes the painting.