Milaca grad’s art reaches out

Milaca graduate Charles Fehring’s drawing of 3-year-old gunshot victim Terrell Mayes touched the hearts of the toddler’s many family members and neighbors.

By LESLEY TOTH
Mille Lacs County Times

The Milaca Area Food Pantry will soon be adorned with colorful renditions of super hero characters developed by Milaca graduate Charles Fehring.

Fehring has always had a knack for art and remembers learning under former Milaca art teachers Michaela Essleman and Bob Campbell.

Last year his parents, Gary and Mary Fehring, encouraged him to put his talents to work creating coloring pages for the March Food Drive at the local pantry.

“That was right in my field house. I’ve grown up drawing super heroes and fantasy characters,” Fehring said. “And my mom and dad have volunteered at the food shelf for ages.”

Now living in St. Louis Park with his wife and children, Fehring said drawing has become more and more important in his life.

Not only has Fehring’s artwork created a stronger bond between father and son, hometown and former resident, but it has also comforted the numerous family members and neighbors of 3-year-old Terrell Mayes, who was shot and killed by a stray bullet the day after Christmas, 2011 inside his North Minneapolis home.

“That was such a horrible story. I read the paper and I saw it. I couldn’t function I was so despondent.” Fehring said. “I just sat down and started drawing out of comfort.”

The simple pencil sketch depicts Terrell, sporting a winning smile that has touched the hearts of Minnesotans across the state, held in Jesus Christ’s embrace.

“I thought that was going to be the end of it,” he said. “I just drew it to set my mind at ease.”

Fehring left the drawing on his table and that’s where it stayed for a few days.
“My younger brother, Jason, was affected by the story too, so he went to the vigil,” he said.

But Jason insisted on taking Charles’ drawing with him.

“He brought it and it took on a life of its own,” Fehring said. “They used it in the funeral and had it on the stairs by the flowers. And I think that’s the reason I was compelled to draw it.”

A video of Derrick Neal, Terrell’s cousin, handing out copies of the drawing to people who attended the toddler’s funeral can be viewed at  www.startribune.com/video/136704168.html.

“That was a unique experience,” Fehring said. “It’s hard to explain. It was very rewarding.”

For the full story, see the Thursday, March 22 print edition of the Times.

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