WILMINGTON,NC (WWAY) -- Rachard McIntyre has a special gift for art, but says he always felt a little different. He was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, a high-functioning type of Autism, in his early 20’s.
“I felt ineffective, different, and maybe left out,” said McIntyre.
Now 31, McIntyre hasn't stopped fulfilling his passion.
“My disability has also given me a gift,” said McIntyre.
His gift is art. He started drawing and painting at the age of five and since then has devoted most nights to creating artwork. Books are filled with his pencil drawings of celebrities and numerous colorful paintings lay around the house. Last year he decided to create something with great personal meaning. His drawings commemorate the tenth anniversary of 9/11.
“This year happens to be a big year because so many people died on that day and it could still be in people's minds,” said McIntyre. “People need to remember those who died.”
He created a series of images, each with the handwritten names of those who lost their lives in the Twin Towers, Pentagon and Flight 93.
Rachard lives with his mother, Carrie McIntyre. She says she couldn't be prouder of the man her son has become.
“There's just a wide range of things that he has the abilities to do and we want to stretch it as far as it can go, because in this way it could help somebody else,” said Carrie McIntyre.
Portions of the proceeds from Rachard's artwork, sold on his website, will go to the families of the victims of 9/11. Though he lives with a disability, McIntyre says he can still make a difference.
Mcintyre is also in the process of creating a similar drawing to honor the 343 firefighters who died on 9/11. He is taking art classes at Cape Fear Community College and hopes to graduate next year.