Portraits of Courage Exhibit Hero Spotlight: Schumacher and Ganem

by | May 15, 2024 | Exhibits, News

Brothers in Arms: Staff Sergeant Jack Schumacher and Sergeant William J. (BJ) Ganem– President Bush titled this portrait of two warriors Brothers in Arms because it is “a testament to the unique way that veterans help each other heal through camaraderie and mutual respect.”

Courtesy of President George W. Bush

Jack Schumacher (right) made the decision to enlist in the Army after his sophomore year of college. While others his age were getting ready to enjoy summer, he recalls “I felt something starting to stir inside of me. I realized that as I would be relaxing in the summer sun there were men and women my age preparing to serve their country. I knew that enlisting in the military would be the first truly selfless decision of my life.”

In May 2009, a RPG denoted on Jack’s right leg when his convoy was ambushed in Afghanistan. He received treatment at Walter Reed Medical Center, which he describes as “a special place where people took a vested interest in helping rebuild [his] life.” Jack went back to college and graduated with honors from Georgetown University.

William J. (BJ) Ganem (left) jokes that in high school he was voted “least likely to join the military.” After being sent home from college on academic probation, he enlisted in the Marines. He served four years on active duty and then re-enlisted with the Marine Corps Ready Reserves.

On Thanksgiving night 2004, BJ’s Humvee was hit by a roadside bomb. Among his injuries, both of his legs were badly damaged and his left leg was eventually amputated. After suffering many setbacks in recovery, BJ got into athletics and changed his career path. He now serves as an accredited veteran service officer working for the Semper Fi Fund helping combat veterans with the transition to civilian life. 

Portraits of Courage will be on exhibit at the Nixon Library for its West Coast debut through May 19, 2024, thanks to the generosity of Lisa Argyros / Argyros Family Foundation. Tickets to the special exhibit are included with admission to the Nixon Library.

Portraits of Courage by President George W. Bush is on loan from the Argyros Collection at the George W. Bush Presidential Center, a non-profit whose work includes helping veterans and their families make successful transitions to civilian life.