Wounded warrior designs poster for United Way, Combined Federal Campaign
June 10, 2010
By Lori Newman
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- The United Way, in conjunction with the Combined Federal Campaign, held a ceremony June 2 at the Warrior and Family Support Center to unveil the 2010 campaign poster.
The poster was designed by William "Bill" Klienedler, a 15-year Army veteran and wounded warrior.
Wounded in Iraq in 2006, Klienedler spent three years rehabilitating at Brooke Army Medical Center.
"I was recovering from my burns and learning how to hold a pencil again. Through rehabilitation, I learned how to grip my hands and fingers; eventually I was able to pick that pencil back up and start drawing," Kleinedler said.
He said he was very lucky to survive. "It brought me to a new prospective on life; it brought me to the realization that life is very, very precious and that we cannot waste our time mingling about, we need to do something."
"I have been drawing since I was a child. I just never thought my artwork would go anywhere, but I pursued it my entire life," he said.
His first drawing after recovery was called, "Inspiration," a picture of a tree twisting and bending in the wind.
"I picked that because I wanted to show something of my gratitude for being alive and the inspiration and spirit of who we are." He said while he was drawing the piece a few people looked over his shoulder and thought it was good.
He was approached to do the sculpture hanging above the fireplace at the Warrior and Family Support Center. The 18-foot metal sculpture depicts a swarm of butterflies - a symbol of hope.
Kleinedler said that months later he received a call from the United Way to do the campaign poster.
The poster depicts a patriotic scene with local landmarks including the Riverwalk, the clock tower in the Fort Sam Houston Quadrangle and the Taj Mahal at Randolph Air Force Base.
"The original drawing is a mixture of water color, pen and ink, and graphite," Kleinedler said. "The poster is a direct reflection and a very personal piece for me - being military."
"The opportunity to have a poster made by one of our wounded warriors capturing the essence of San Antonio as Military City U.S.A. with the essence of all of our installations in San Antonio just brings it all together in one special moment," said Col. Mary Garr, 502nd Mission Support Group/Garrison commander.
"Having the poster ceremony here at our Warrior and Family Support Center underneath the very sculpture that he created while he was going through his own healing process makes it that much more special."
"He's done a magnificent job. He's a warrior, he's a Soldier. He has served this country and deserves all of our gratitude and our thanks for his service," said retired Maj. Gen. Josue Robles Jr., president and chief executive officer of USAA and the 2010 United Way campaign chairman.
The CFC was established in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy as a once-a-year, workplace appeal to federal employees to contribute to charitable organizations. The CFC is the largest single fundraising campaign in the world.
"The Combined Federal Campaign has been around for a number of years to support the local communities across our nation in time of need. There are multiple organizations out there that benefit," Garr said.
"This is a way for our military to have a chance to contribute to the organizations that give back in so many ways to our military service members and their Families, as well as the local communities across our country."
"There is nothing better we can do with our lives, and our time and money, than to help people who are in need. This community likes to take care of itself and I totally support that and want to be a part of that," Robles said.