Johnny Mac’s Mission
Johnny Mac was a soldier, husband, father and friend. While serving his country, Col. John M. McHugh, was killed in action in Kabul, Afghanistan. He had served for 24 years in the United States Army.
The Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund was created in his name to honor military service and sacrifice by providing scholarships to veterans and military family members, especially to children of our nation’s fallen or disabled.
John Magness served on the Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund Board of Directors from June 2017 until his untimely passing on February 5, 2023.
Mr. M was my honorary god father. His daughter and I have been best friends for almost 18 years.
Just hours after successfully summiting Mount Aconcagua in Argentina (one of the highest mountains in the world at nearly 23,000) Mr. M succumbed to high altitude pulmonary edema upon decent. He was participating in the “Aconcagua Challenge” expedition to raise funds and awareness for Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund.
“John graduated from West Point with the Class of 1986. He served honorably for nine years as a United States Army officer with roles as commander, staff officer, and pilot. He was a Desert Storm veteran. His last Army assignment was as Operations Officer and Pilot with the famed Task Force 160 Night Stalkers, an elite Special Operations Aviation unit. In this unit, John participated in numerous combat missions, including the Battle of the Black Sea in Mogadishu, Somalia, depicted in the movie “Black Hawk Down.
John was a dedicated, generous, patriotic leader on our board and a fierce supporter of our organization’s mission. We are forever grateful to John for sharing his immense talents and passion for serving Gold Star children and military families.
– In Memoriam from Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund Board Members & Staff
The Artwork Origin Story
In my grieving upon the news of Mr. M’s passing, I came across photos of past art pieces that the Magness family had commissioned me for. This included a drawing of Mr. M’s West Point graduating class insignia that featured an eagle with a banner across its’ chest that read, “Courage Never Quits”.
What continued my inspiration for a memorial drawing was a photo of Mr. M standing next to a trail marker in the shape of an eagle at the top of the mountain. The morning I received this picture, my devotional included a fitting scripture from Isaiah 40:31 about rising up on wings like eagles.
With these connected moments, I envisioned an eagle and the Aconcagua mountain landscape in a double-exposure style drawing. In the eagle’s talons is the American flag that was laboriously carried by Mr. M to the summit of Mount Aconcagua, then from Argentina, all the way back to the United States of America.
The original drawing is aptly titled, “In Summitatem Nisus” meaning, “Efforts at the Summit”, a slogan found on the Magness family crest. The original artwork, created in pen and ink, was gifted to John’s wife and family.
During the creation of this piece, I prayed that Mr. M’s spirit of integrity, patriotism, selflessness, faith, and bravery would shine through. It was an incredibly intimidating and sincerely heartfelt piece to create and I hope to have done it justice.
Limited Edition Print Release
I usually only share memorial artwork with the client it’s intended for.
However, after receiving the blessing from the Magness family, we felt that sharing “In Summitatem Nisus” as a limited edition print release could be a powerful way to honor the life and legacy of John Magness, help friends and family heal from such loss, and ultimately, continue to bring awareness and support to Johnny Mac’s mission; Providing scholarships to military children of our nation’s fallen or wounded soldiers.
I’ve teamed up with the Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund to offer a limited edition release of “In Summitatem Nisus”, honoring the life of John Magness. All 50 prints in the first edition release of this print have sold. A second and final edition of this print is now available through the link below: