By Dale Denwalt, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Enid Fire Department was presented with a lifelike pencil drawing depicting the brigade’s early days Thursday.
Duron Lewis, who recently moved to Enid and works in the oil field, created his artwork based on a photograph showing the department’s headquarters in 1906.
Steve Kime, Enid’s director of public relations, said Lewis came to his office in February. By then, Lewis had begun working on an 8-foot by 10-foot mural depicting the history of Enid.
He wanted to contribute to the city through art, Kime told the audience. At one point, Lewis said he would draw the fire department’s home from a century ago.
“That was the thing that drew me to Duron, was the spirit of wanting to give back to the community,” Kime said. “In one afternoon, he cranks out a photo of an early 1900s Enid fire house. I thought, we had to do something with this drawing.”
A small crowd of Enid officials, first responders and residents gathered in the current fire station’s meeting room to view the drawing, which was propped on an easel with a copy of the original photograph.
Fire Marshal Ken Helms said as soon as he saw Lewis’ artwork, he knew what he was looking at.
“He came by my office and brought this drawing for me to look at,” Helm said. “I’ve seen this picture many times, so I recognized his artwork right away.
“I think it’s just really neat that he’s put his time and effort into this and wants to present it to the fire department.”
The department will hang the drawing in “a special place” inside its headquarters. There are plans to renovate the lobby and meeting room, and during those renovations, the drawing most likely will be hosted by Public Library of Enid and Garfield County.
During the ceremony Thursday, Mayor Bill Shewey presented Lewis with several coins commemorating Enid.
“It seemed like to me instead of me honoring you guys, you’re honoring me for this,” Lewis said after Helms, Kime and Fire Chief Joe Jackson praised his gift.
When Lewis was 10, his father was mayor in a Mississippi town. One day, Lewis said, his dad went to the capital city and picked up a fire truck.
“He brought it back to the town and parked it in our yard,” he said.
And so, 10-year-olds will be 10.
“I decided I wanted to go into the back of the truck and, you know, play,” Lewis said.
At one point, he started the behemoth and drove forward slightly before returning the truck to where his father left it.
“I love fire trucks, and your service is much appreciated,” Lewis said. “You guys put your life on the line. You’re the first responders and I love you.”
After the ceremony, Lewis said he has called himself an artist since age 11, and prefers portrait work. He uses a variety of mediums, including pastels, paint, ink, along with pencil.
After he gets home from a 14-hour workday, Lewis said he’ll sometimes sketch for an hour each night.
The mural is expected to be shown at the library in mid-September. Each panel of nearly 30 drawings represent some part of Enid’s history.
“The first inspiration (to create art) was my dad, but here in Enid, the land run and the Sooners inspired me to learn the history of Enid,” he said. “And the fire department was one of the first sketches I did. I love the horses on them.”