• Artists create 'living' memorial to honor Pulse responders

    By: Lauren Seabrook


    ORLANDO, Fla. - Artists found a unique way to share the courageous acts and positive moments that grew out of the attack on Pulse nightclub.

    Channel 9's Lauren Seabrook went to Thornton Park to show how love conquered hate that day and continues to help everyone heal.

    In every great masterpiece - you'll find a few strokes darker than the rest. But surround them with the colors of the rainbow and a beautiful story emerges.

    “Our paintbrush is our weapon, and the paint is love," said artist Michael Pilato.

    It takes a lot of love to illustrate the people in these portraits. Just ask Michael Pilato. Every Sept. 11, he paints for 48 hours straight.  This year he painted for 49 hours to honor 49 lives taken in another attack on Americans.

    "Who would've thought we would've fought a war on U.S. soil, here in our backyard? This is Orlando." said first responder Omar Delgado.

    Delgado rescued Angel Colon by dragging his bullet-riddled body over glass and debris to the safety of a fast-food restaurant parking lot across the street from Pulse.

    He's a guardian angel now highlighted in history.  

    Delgado risked not returning to his own wife and children so someone else would see their child again.

    "This is the platform of understanding. It doesn't matter who you are, what you're going through. This represents unity. This represents family." said Delgado.

    The Kimball sisters at the center of the mural feel that connection too.

    "Each one of these are hand cut and hand drawn, so no two are exactly the same."  said Delanie Kimball, the co-founder or Made of Rainbow Hearts

    Who knew the smallest of hearts could pump out so much joy? On the day the Pulse shootings happened, these sisters wanted to give their own blood. They understand the pain of loss, because their father died a few years before the Pulse shooting.

    "You have to still live your life, but still grieve." said Delanie.

    Too young to donate a pint of blood, the girls decided if they couldn't save a life, they would try to revive happiness.

    "After the Orlando shooting, we've been handing these hearts out to show love always wins."           

    Their mission, and the others symbolized across the wall - will soon help more children understand what makes this community so special through a 12-week curriculum Chimene Hurst plans to teach in Orlando schools.

    "We can't protect kids from being exposed to horrible things, and tragic things, but we can help try to show them there is a way to rise above, and to find some beauty in sadness." said Chimene Hurst, the project’s co-founder.

    Grace in the face of tragedy, to ensure a future that's bright.

    "They call this the ‘city beautiful’, and there's a reason for that, you know." said Pilato.

    The artists consider it a "living" mural because they will keep adding to it for months to come. The location in Thornton Park is only temporary, but a permanent spot has not been picked yet.

    In Orlando, Lauren Seabrook, Channel 9 Eyewitness News.

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