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Galveston Artist Robert Peterson "Draws" Shriners Hospitals for Children Staff Together for One Mission

On the corner of Post Office Street and Kempner on the island sits a quaint art gallery that draws in visitors with its vibrant depictions of the ocean, sea life and “all things Galveston.” Robert Peterson, the artist and owner of the gallery known as Vacations on Canvas, has created a wonderfully relaxing and welcoming space featuring his realist paintings and drawings, but it was his fun and creative cartooning that made him a bigger part of the Shriners Hospitals for Children — Galveston family.

The Shriners Hospital in Houston and Shriners Hospitals burn center in Galveston will merge into the Galveston location in early 2021, coming together as Shriners Hospitals for Children — Texas. As the staff from both hospitals prepare to join “super powers,” the Amazing Heroes League idea was created to encourage everyone to come “together for one mission.” Peterson helped illustrate this effort by creating a set of cartoons that represents all of Shriners Hospitals for Children's “Amazing Heroes.”

“When Shriners [Hospital] reached out to me to collaborate on this project, it brought me back to my high school teaching years,” Peterson said. “I used to incorporate cartoon drawings and the kids always loved it. Doing this for a children’s hospital was both fun and meaningful for me.”

Peterson’s cartoons represent everyone at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Galveston – from nurses and lab technicians to administrative and support staff members. The goal of the Amazing Heroes League is for every staff member to be “together for [Shriners Hospitals] one mission of providing the highest quality care to children with neuromusculoskelatal conditions, burn injuries and other special health care needs within a compassionate, family-centered and collaborative care environment."

“Early in my teaching career, I learned what makes a team. In a school, it takes a lot more than teachers to service kids – it’s a joint operation of teachers, support staff, custodial and nutrition services. We never took that team effort for granted,” Peterson said. “The same can be said of a hospital setting.”

This is not the first time Peterson has done a special project for Shriners Hospitals for Children. Back when his own daughter worked at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Galveston, his high school class created get-well-soon posters. They drew different cartoon characters that all kids can identify with, laminated them and sent them off to the hospital, where patients would use tracing paper and draw their own cartoons. Growing up and watching his parents always helping other people, Peterson was thrilled to be able to do something for Shriners Hospitals for Children.

“It was an honor to be part of this project. It gave me a chance to go back and do something I really enjoy for an incredible organization,” Peterson said.

His Amazing Hero cartoons were featured on staff T-shirts as part of this special campaign. In a small but very meaningful way, Peterson's artful gift has become representative of the beginning of Shriners Hospitals for Children — Texas.

Robert Peterson

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