MCKINNEY, Texas -- Mandy Barber knew exactly what she was looking for when she walked into Orisons Art Gallery in downtown McKinney. The mother of four bypassed every colorful painting and went straight to the back. She had her eyes on a portrait of a handsome young man in uniform.
"Those eyes, I feel like he's about to tell me something," Barber said.
Barber has zeroed in on a portrait of her son, Tim, and her husband, Greg. She lost both of them this past New Year's Eve when the small plane they were flying in collided with another small aircraft over McKinney.
"They were together, and I have comfort in that. They were doing what they love and you can't ask for anymore," Barber said.
The portrait was painted by Colin Kimball, a local artist who has done dozens of portraits of active service members from Collin County who have passed away. Tim's portrait will be displayed alongside Kimball's other works at the Collin County Courthouse for all to see.
"That's pretty amazing that they'll be together," Barber said.
Family friend Keith Clifton was there as the portrait was revealed. He says Greg was a teacher at heart who lead by example during his time in the air force and in life. Clifton also said Tim and Greg's strength came from the woman who loved them most.
"So often people forget about the wives and spouses who are there. Greg couldn't have done his deployments without her," Clifton said.
Barber has waited months to speak with media about her son and husband. She's taken that time to rally with friends, her church and the cadets who went to the Air Force Academy with her son Tim.
"Talk about some of the most amazing young men you'll ever meet," Barber said.
She says the loss is tough. Some days are tough to get through, but she says she always thinks about the Tim and Greg.
"They were great friends. They loved their country. They would help anyone that needed help," Barber said.
She says while the tough days remain, she and her three other children are pushing through, always keeping in mind what will make Tim and Greg proud.
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