92-year-old St. Augustine man spreading hope on the First Coast

Janny Rodriguez reports Feb. 19, 2016

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- It’s a message we can all share, it's a message of a hope and it's being spread by a 92-year-old St. Augustine man through his simple works of art.

"First I cut out all these pieces first, which are 2 by 8, I cut them out of either plywood or pressboard and then I paint them black because black shows up the best,” said Herman Mehling.

Mehling, a Navy veteran and former New York City police and firefighter, is known to those close to him as the “Jesus man."

"I was visiting a friend of mine who was an old neighbor and he gave me one about 25 years ago so just a couple of years ago I decided I would start making some myself," said Mehling.

He calls his artwork the "Jesus plaques." "I just think it's a nicer thing to do get something as a gift, I mean no matter how rich somebody is it's nice for them even to get a gift."

Mehling's work is now highly sought after, as many friends and family members have shared them.

"'How come everybody has the Jesus sign on their desk?' And they said, 'Oh we get them from Judy,' so she asked Judy can she have one so of course my daughter gave her one," said Mehling.

Mehlin says the popularity of his artwork "makes me want to make more," enough to go around for the eventual day when he’s gone.

"To have enough made so that when I go to heaven in the sky people that come to my funeral parlor my son will present them with a Jesus sign if they don't have one already," he said.

If you’re interested in a plaque or simply getting to know the man who makes them so well, you can reach Mehling at Good News Church in St. Augustine.


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