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Jorge Lovato

The anger Jorge Lovato felt after his cousin was killed in Vietnam and his brother was injured there motivated him to enlist. After completing his training as a Navy hospital corpsman, he was assigned to the U.S.S. Sanctuary, a hospital ship stationed in South Vietnam. Lovato worked in triage and the intensive care unit, where he encountered the most severely injured patients. “Many were amputees, severely burned, quadriplegics and many had multiple fractures. Many of these I cannot forget,” he says. After returning home to Taos, N.M., he chose to pursue fine arts -- a “peaceful career, one that would not hurt anything,” Lovato says. He learned woodcarving by observing his mother, and later began painting urban landscapes and coastal scenes — which reflect the tempo of life in Bay St. Louis, Miss., a small coastal village on the Gulf of Mexico where he now lives.

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A Day in the Life of John Milchamp

16 x 12 x 13 in. and 16 x 12 x 16 in.

Mixed Media: Sculpture and Framed Newsprint


This woodcarving depicts the scene when Lovato first encountered John Milchamp, as he was carried on a stretcher from a Medivac that had landed aboard the U.S.S. Sanctuary. Those treating Milchamp, a tall Texan, were told that he caught the full blast of a claymore mine; he was severely injured with multiple fractures and shrapnel wounds, and was unresponsive. “I remember how tall he was even though both his feet were amputated,” he says. “We did our best to care for him. I treated him and talked as if he could understand.”