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Gwinnett artist Adrian Green puts the finishing touches on his mural for DeKalb Fire Services. Green has painted numerous murals for other emergency services and for numerous Gwinnett schools.

Heroism comes naturally to Gwinnett’s Adrian Green. He has been a U.S. Marine, a firefighter and a fire safety planner.

Green is also an artist, following his dream of celebrating the heroic among our citizens, young and old, by creating large, colorful murals.

He always wanted to be an artist. Growing up in New York and Boston, he created comic books with friends and attended art classes at the Massachusetts College of Art.

“But, after my first year, I decided to join the Marines to become one of the few, the proud,” he said.

After leaving the Marine Corps, Green and his mother relocated to Stone Mountain where he began a career in emergency services, becoming a firefighter with the DeKalb County Fire Rescue department.

“I spent 22 years as a firefighter, emergency medical technician, fire apparatus operator, fire academy instructor, and eventually a Fire Inspector in the Gwinnett’s Fire Marshall’s Office,” Green said. “It gave me a greater sense of community and the people I’ve had the privilege to serve.”

He has served his community in an additional way by celebrating the heroism and character of many people. Two groups of individuals stand out in his work: emergency services heroes and what he calls the “heroes to be” — young students in Gwinnett’s schools.

Green’s reputation as an artist was known among his fellow firefighters. Before he retired from the DeKalb Fire Service, Chief Darnell Fullum asked him to paint a mural for the lobby of their headquarters.

“It started as a joke about how I would just retire and paint pictures ‘til I got old,” Green said. “When Chief Fullum asked me to paint the mural, we laughed it off.”

Then, some wise advice from a coworker led to Green making a formal presentation to the chief, and the mural was “green lighted.”

“My last month on the job I was allowed to share my passion, my art, with everyone who walks through the lobby where I was painting. It was awesome,” Green said.

“From there, I painted a mural for the American Medical Response ambulance service. This was at the height of COVID 2020. The theme is a tribute to all the AMR workers on the front lines during the pandemic,” he said.

The mural is mounted in the lobby of the AMR Stone Mountain Headquarters.

Then Ms. Darlene Brown, Principal of Grace Snell Middle School, approached him.

“She wanted to inspire her students and staff attending classes during these chaotic times,” Green said. “The mural’s title is ‘The Sky’s the Limit.’ It shows students demolishing a wall of terms of negativity while replacing them with terms promoting positivity.”

Green has painted murals in many Gwinnett County schools such as Osborne, Hull and Snellville middle schools in addition to Mill Creek and Peachtree Ridge high schools.

He is currently working in the Gwinnett County Offices of Planning as a Fire Plan Reviewer.

“I feel like I have come full circle,” he says. “I’ve been blessed. I’m grateful to God, and I take nothing for granted. I love what I do.”

Holley Calmes is a freelance writer and public relations consultant specializing in the arts. Email her at hcalmes@ mindspring.com.

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