Photo: Bill Sizemore works on the wall mural representing first responders during Hurricane Harvey at Bridge City Fire and Rescue. Photos courtesy of Kelly Trahan

Penny LeLeux

For The Record

William “Bill” Sizemore and his family were fortunate when Harvey came through in 2017. They didn’t flood. They didn’t have to evacuate. The Sizemore’s just hunkered down during the storm. They only lost lights for a couple of hours the entire time Harvey was here.

After the storm Sizemore had survivor’s guilt. A heart condition had prevented him from being able to do much in the way of offering help during and after the devastation to our area.

He watched as all the first responders came in to lend a hand. “I have the highest regard for them,” said Sizemore. “There was all this activity and I wasn’t contributing.”

Sizemore’s neighbor and friend, Kelly Trahan, is a member of the Bridge City Volunteer Fire and Rescue. He knew Sizemore was an artist, because he had noticed some sizable art in Sizemore’s garage in the past.

He approached Sizemore last year and said, “We’ve got this wall with all the signatures from all the first responders that came to this area.” He suggested it would be nice if they had a picture painted on the wall to go with them.

“I said yes without even thinking, without even seeing the wall and what the scope of the project would be,” said Sizemore. “This was my opportunity to do something nice for them.”

Trahan told him the chief had an idea of a graphic he wanted. Sizemore took that information, and then came up with some sketch ideas he digitally imposed on a picture of the wall to get approval, and then began the actual work in May of last year.

He installed scaffolding and painted the mural above all the first responders’ signatures, leaving them intact.

On the left side, it begins with an image of the state of Texas and a representative graphic of the storm with the word STRONG. The mural continues with several scenes that represent activities of all the first responders and several images representing Bridge City.

Sizemore finished the wall just before Christmas.

Unbeknownst to Sizemore, Trahan took several pictures while he was painting the wall. Created with acrylics and house paint, the picture spans the upper third of the wall, adjacent to the dispatcher’s office.

“I’ve never done anything to that scale,” said Sizemore. He said he has done pictures as big as a flat screen TV, but never a whole wall. “I do acrylic, pencils, pen and ink, and markers. I do a lot with markers.” He has an interest in graphic novels. It was comic books that first got him interested in art when he was a kid. “I fell in love with them,” he said. “I do a variety of subject matter. I do a lot of surreal art.”

Recently, Bridge City Fire and Rescue president, Buddy Hanks, and the membership presented Sizemore with a certificate of appreciation for the gift of art.

Sizemore teaches English, Art and Humanities at Lamar Institute of Technology (LIT) in Beaumont and is in a PHD program. “Currently, I’m learning about learning.”

In the upcoming break between semesters, he plans on working on a graphic novel he is developing about a monster made of books called AMOK (A Monster of Knowledge).

Sizemore said he would entertain possibly doing another mural if someone requested it, but he would consider the scope, first, before answering.

If you drive by the fire station, you can see the mural from the outside if the bay doors are open.