Alexandria, La. — Ben Trail was finishing Phlebotomy School at Rapides Regional Medical Center when COVID began.

“We finished six weeks of class and were scheduled for six weeks of clinical time, but four weeks in, we were at work with everyone else in the middle of COVID,” said Trail, who was born in France and grew up in Southern Africa. “It was in the middle of that when I saw an image from Italy, with all these N-95 masks with names on them, hanging on a wall, waiting to be used again. This was when Italy was losing 800 people a day to COVID.

“It was a powerful photo.”

Trail is a self-taught artist. He paints surfboards, walls and canvases using airbrush and ink. He took those skills and created a 2’x2’ epoxy resin/fiberglass/ink piece featuring his coworkers’ names.

Before arriving in Louisiana and entering the medical field, Trail lived and worked in Hawaii, where, he was an avid surfer. He also worked in several surfboard factories and found that the leftover fiberglass waste provided a unique canvas for his art.

Now, he’s working toward a career in the medical field, with phlebotomy as his first step.

“When I finished the piece, I wanted to make sure all of the phlebotomists and laboratory staff signed the back of it,” Trail said. “This way, they can be honored and remembered for the work they do.”

In addition, Trail hopes to raise money with this art to benefit HCA Hope Fund, which provides monies to hospital employees in need following natural disasters and other hardship. Raffle tickets can be purchased for $5 each in the Public Relations office at Rapides Regional Medical Center. All money will go to the HCA Hope Fund.

Additional examples of Trail’s artwork can be found at Ben Trail Art and on Instagram @bentrail_art. For more information call (318) 769-3135.

tags: covid-19