(NewsNation) — Bob Crowell is on a mission to highlight first responders through art.
Crowell, in his ninth year volunteering for the Manistee County Community Emergency Response Team, said his appreciation for first responders grew exponentially after he suffered a heart attack in 2019.
“I just felt that there was a need for this type of an exhibit to honor our first responders, and honor our fallen first responders, as well,” Crowell said on NewsNation’s “Morning in America.” “At the same time to help turn on the lights for future first responders.”
He partnered with Manistee County, Michigan, art teachers to get more than 550 students involved in an art gallery highlighting first responders in a heartfelt art exhibit.
“I went to all the art teachers in the school district. I did not go to the principal or the administration. This had to come from the teacher’s heart, and 100% of all the art teachers in the county volunteered to do this. So this is all coming from their heart,” Crowell explained.
Last summer, Crowell donated posters featuring law enforcement to the courthouse and realized it was the first exhibit of its kind. Now he wants to turn his exhibit into a nationwide art gallery to help first responders get hired amid staffing shortages.
“That’s the big dream — to make this a challenge for all the counties across the country to have their own first responder art exhibit,” Crowell said. “All they have to do is go to the art teachers and make it happen, and these children, they absolutely love doing this.”
The Manistee County Students for First Responders exhibit will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, in the Manistee County Courthouse through July 1.