By Rene Ray De La Cruz
APPLE VALLEY — A local artist has created beer labels honoring two police officers who were killed in the line of duty.
Chris Hernandez was commissioned by Ryan Wick, co-owner of Wicks Brewing Co. of Riverside, to create the beer bottle labels that will hold unique beer recipes for Detective Jeremiah MacKay of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department and Officer Michael Crain with the Riverside Police Department.
Both Crain and MacKay were murdered during former LAPD officer Christopher Dorner's rampage in February.
"It's an honor and a blessing to create these labels for two heroes who were killed while doing their jobs," said Hernandez, a graphic artist who lives in Apple Valley. "I hope my work honors their lives and their families."
Hernandez said he has several friends in law enforcement and he considered the label project more than a job.
"After hearing their stories, I wanted the labels to reflect a bit of their lives and a lot of their character," Hernandez said. "I want their family and friends to hold up the bottles and feel a sense of joy about their lives."
Hernandez said he was told by Wick that MacKay's label will represent a Scottish ale beer blend and Crain's will be a chocolate milk stout recipe.
MacKay was remembered as once saying that law enforcement officers were like sheepdogs protecting their flock of sheep. During his funeral, four English sheepdogs trailed family and friends as MacKay's casket was brought into the San Manuel Amphitheater, and an army of bagpipers played on the hillside, something MacKay did during funerals for other fallen peace officers.
Hernandez said MacKay's label includes his call number, 14D2, a bagpipe-playing sheepdog and the county logo.
Crain, who was called "Freight Crain" by those close to him because he was powerful like a train yet polite in demeanor, will have a label that includes his badge number, 1226, and a freight train with a front end that resembles "a mean mechanical bull ready for action," Hernandez said.
MacKay, 35, and Crain, 34, were laid to rest in separate ceremonies, with thousands of attendees paying their respects.
As he worked on the labels, Hernandez said he also thought of Cal State Fullerton assistant women's basketball coach Monica Quan, 28, who was killed by Dorner, along with her fiance.
"I graduated from Cal State Fullerton, so this really hit home," Hernandez said. "Who kills innocent people?"
Hernandez said Crain's family asked him to paint the beer label symbol on the gas tank of Michael Crain's motorcycle.
"I'm a bit nervous. I've never been asked to do anything like this before in my life," Hernandez said. "I just hope I can do a good job."
Wicks Brewing plans to hold a Cops and Cars fundraiser with all Freight Crain and Sheep Dog beer sales going to the Crain and MacKay families. The fundraiser is scheduled to include a car and motorcycle show, live band and barbecue from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 1 at Wicks Brewing Co., 11620 Sterling Ave., Suite C, in Riverside.
For more information on the fundraiser, email Steve Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
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