Holly Suchonel Rauch 16” x 16” • Acrylic on Canvas

Holly Suchonel Rauch
16” x 16” • Acrylic on Canvas

My journey with art began about 5 years ago as just a hobby, and now it is my passion! My medium of choice is acrylics and my style is mostly abstract. 100% of the proceeds from the sale of my works benefit the Lyssa Rauch Memorial Scholarship at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina. This scholarship is in memory of my beautiful daughter and who lost her battle with cancer in 2006 at the age of 20. The scholarship is awarded annually to deserving students in the Department of Theater and Dance and is funded entirely by private donations. I have decided to turn my passion for art into a way to financially support the scholarship. When an opportunity presented itself to help another very worthy organization – Bullets and Bandaids – I couldn’t pass it up. I was honored to be able to represent the story “Christmas Eve” and the poem “Combat Fairy” with unique interpretations through art.

Inspired by the experiences of David Rozzell

Christmas Eve
by David Rozzell

We all knew it was Christmas Eve. No one mentioned it. The resupply helicopter bringing mail wasn’t due for a couple days. There were no presents or cards.

The Chaplain held special services on base camps but we were in the jungle, broken up into 8 man ambush teams for the night. We sat down in heavy brush to eat supper and wait for twilight so we could move safely into our ambush site.

The site we were assigned left me more than a little uneasy. Our leaders had found a newly cut road as wide as I-95 into Florida. There was no pavement and no tracks or prints to indicate recent heavy traffic but the ghosts… the ghosts were around.
The soldier types placed our mechanical ambush devices and came back and armed the deadly things. We formed a tight circle with some new growth, elephant grass maybe 18 inches tall for concealment and protection. The anxiety surrounding this campsite pushed the thoughts of my other family, the one waiting for me back home, to a back burner. Thoughts of them exchanging gifts while gathered around a warm fireplace.

It was a cloudless night and there was enough moon to light up the area, so I got to sleep in good order. When my guard shift started at midnight I quickly got orientated, decided which direction was most likely to produce enemy activity and settled into the routine of classifying and categorizing the night sounds and sights.
At 12:41, I heard the prop noise of a helicopter. It didn’t take long to find the form of the lone chopper moving high and slowly across the sky to my front.

The helicopter was well past me when I heard what its mission was that night. From a strong speaker on board the plane came music. The first tune was SILENT NIGHT. All the emotions I had stacked so high and deeply on that burner fell heavily on the tin foil protecting soft parts. I am sure the officer in charge of the music mission had good intentions and I hope the songs brought warmth to the other soldiers in the area… but I could have done without it.