Fallen Hero CPL Rachael Hugo, United States Army” title=

CPL Rachael L. Hugo

May 13, 1983 - October 5, 2007
U.S. Army

Corporal Rachael Hugo was killed in Iraq when her Army Reserve unit was attacked by insurgents with a roadside bomb. She was serving as a combat medic and had earned an award for saving another soldier’s life earlier in her tour. “She was always very adamant about volunteering and going out on missions with her guys,” said her father, Kermit Hugo. “She told us countless times that she needed to be out there with them.”

Rachael, a resident of Madison, Wisconsin graduated from Madison East High School in 2001. She was studying to be a nurse at Viterbo University in La Crosse when she was called to active duty. She had two years of school remaining. Family members said she signed up for the military because she wanted to serve our country. Her parents and her younger brother Scott remembered Rachael as a beautiful and intelligent woman who had a passion for caring for the wounded. In an e-mail from Iraq, she wrote: ”Being a medic is what I live to do.”

My husband and I had the privilege of delivering this portrait to Rachael’s parents, Kermit and Ruth Hugo. We had a wonderful visit and loved hearing about their beautiful daughter. Ruth said Rachael was looking forward to returning to the U.S. in about a month from the time she lost her life. She had even gone on an online shopping spree for new clothes. We learned that Rachael loved looking nice, and her make-up was always done perfectly, as is evident in this portrait. Before we left the Hugo’s that day Kermit pulled out of his pocket a commemorative coin his daughter had received for her previous heroic actions. She had given it to him for safekeeping.

This is my first portrait of a female hero. It was my honor to paint this vibrant young woman who always went above and beyond the call of duty, even doing such things as volunteer nursing while going to school. She truly is an American Hero who will be held in the hearts of her family, friends, and fellow soldiers forever.

Portrait sponsored by:
- Cpl. Curtis M Swenson Memorial Fund, Rochester, Minnesota