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Treasure Coast native using his talents to make gifts for families of victims of Orlando shooting

Posted at 11:49 PM, Jun 15, 2016

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Will Winkler now lives in Orlando, but grew up in the Treasure Coast.

On Wednesday, he began the bittersweet task of drawing sketches of the 49 people killed in Sunday's terror attack at Pulse nightclub.

RELATED: Special Section | Photos of victims

Will plans on sending the sketches to the families of those lost in the attack.

"To see all these different faces that have fallen that you've seen before, you've hung out with, went to a bar with, it's a different kind of feeling," Winkler said.

Throughout his time in Orlando, he said he became acquainted with many of the people who were killed in the attack.

One of those killed was Xavier Emmanuel Serrano.

"He is, what I've heard to be, an amazing bright shining light of happiness," Winkler said.

Serrano was an entertainer in Orlando, and was also a father and husband.

But Will was also familiar with the man behind the attack.

His mother was Omar Mateen's elementary school teacher in the Treasure Coast.

He also graduated with Mateen from Martin County High School.

"You know, you hear about the people that were a part of 9/11, the guys in Paris for the shooting but you never think 'I might've known that guy,' or I might have met him before, or shared the same air as him, you almost don't think they're real people. He was a real person, to me especially."

But he's looking past the person behind the attack and focusing on those lives lost.

He says the task is helping him cope as he reads the stories behind every single person who died.

"People would have thought that this would crumble a community and tear people apart. Some people might have said it's about guns and gays or clubs or religion.. really it's about hate and all it brought about was love," Will said.