By Nolan P. Smith
High Desert Daily
(Victorville)— Last year, two officers were killed in action during the horrific events that ended in Big Bear in February 2013. Recently, Apple Valley resident Chris Hernandez was asked to design labels for tribute beers by Wicks Brewing Company for the fallen officers, an honor which he accepted graciously.
How did the opportunity come to be for Hernandez?
In an interview, Hernandez told High Desert Daily of how such a great opportunity arose, and what it meant to him to be a part of this. “Well, a really good friend of mine knew that I do a lot of artwork, and he got into the brewing business and basically approached me to see if I could do artwork for him. Right after that, the brewing company next door, which was Wicks, approached me to do artwork for two fallen officers. The officers, Riverside PD’s Michael Crain and our very own San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Jeremiah MacKay.”
The beers, the Thin Blue Line series, which is created by Wicks Brewing Company in Riverside, will have proceeds from the beers go to the Crain and MacKay families, respectively. “They are themed beers: Michael Crain was a big chocolate stout fan, so naturally they wanted to make a beer after him. Michael Crain was also on the S.W.A.T. Team, he was a big dude; he was the door-breacher. He was basically the guy that would kick the door down, so they nicknamed him Freight Crain, like a freight train. So they said they would like something to look like a bull, and the reason they said a bull is because he was in the Marine Corps, and that was one of their big things, something along the lines of a bull. So they wanted this mechanical looking bull on the head of a train. I incorporated his badge number, which was 1226, onto the train.”
For Jeremiah MacKay, Hernandez drew inspiration from the man’s taste in ales, as well as his love of bagpipes. “I did one for Detective Jeremiah McKay, who was killed up in Big Bear on February 12th, 2013. Jeremiah was into Scottish ales, he played the bagpipes, and so they wanted something that was called Sheep Dog. They said the family wants a sheep dog playing the bagpipes and somewhere if you could incorporate his radio call number, which was 14-D-2, the family would absolutely love it. So I did both labels, the brewery was extremely happy with them.”
“Long story short, I am very, very good friends with the Crain family now, and now they are having a big event on February, not just to honor Michael Crain and Jeremiah McKay, but to honor all injured and fallen police officers. It’s the Riverside Police Officers Association, to help out the families in need who have lost a family member who’s a police officer.”
Wicks Brewing Co. will be the home to Cops and Cars at their Riverside brewery on February 1st, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event will feature a car show, live entertainment, and 100% of the proceeds and donations from the show going to the Riverside Police Officers Association Assistant Funds. Hernandez will be on hand at the event as well, as the Crain family has asked him to paint the beer label logo on Officer Crain’s motorcycle, as well as pinstripe the bike live at the event.
The goal, of course, is to raise as much money as possible for the families with this event. This opportunity is something Hernandez would have never dreamed of being a part of, but is honored to be a part of helping the families in any way possible. “I am very honored and totally blessed to do artwork for them and to create this label that is on T-shirts now. To have a big part with not only San Bernardino County Sheriffs, but Riverside PD, means a lot to me, it is a real honor.”
Hernandez is already working on various other labels with other breweries, including Polymath, where he also designed their company logo.
The event will take place at 11620 Sterling Avenue, Suite C in Riverside, CA. For more information, contact RPOAOFRTBENEFIT@yahoo.com.