Local artist overcomes PTSD to create book, video

by Sue Serdinak

As the country recognizes the 50th anniversary of the U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam, it is time to recognize the efforts of a local man, Keith Dudo, who started, and for 10 years ran, the nonprofit POW-MIA All Wars organization.

Dudo’s father George served in World War II and his brother Ken served in Vietnam, after which he suffered from the effects of Agent Orange. Before their passing, both were very active in Richfield veteran organizations: the AMVETS and the former VFW.

Keith is an artist, and though he did not serve in Vietnam, a tragic experience caused him to be afflicted with post-traumatic stress disorder. After his college roommate committed suicide, Keith went through life unable to form close connections with people. He worked as a sign maker and used his love and talent for art to get through difficult times.

He started drawing a character, Mockie the Mouse. Over several decades he drew Mockie and added Cemore the Bird and other colorful characters.

Richfield Mayor Michael Wheeler encouraged Keith to create a book with his thousands of drawings and suggested the Cuyahoga Valley Career Center help him put together and print the book.

Help they did. Over a couple of years, the students scanned thousands of Ken’s colorful pages, added Ken’s words and designed a 75-page storybook and an accompanying coloring book.  They also made a video of the book.

Keith had been living in the large Richfield home on Broadview Road that his parents, George and Anita, purchased 68 years ago.  He cared for the home, his parents and his brother Ken until they all passed within the last two years.  He recently sold the home and is going on the road to promote the video of the Mockie story and to re-connect with his children and grandchildren who live in different parts of the country.

“The Tale of Mockie, the Misplaced Mouse” can be purchased on Amazon. ∞

Featured Photo: Keith Dudo holds a children’s book that he wrote and colored. He made a plaster sculpture of his main character, Mockie. Photo by S. Serdinak.