After years of planning and financial uncertainty, the Las Vegas Veterans Memorial is starting to take shape, one brick at a time.
The nonprofit foundation working with city officials to build the memorial launched a “brick campaign” last week to raise money to complete the $2.2 million project by 2015.
With more than $900,000 raised already through private donations, the foundation hopes to sell enough customized bricks, for $250 to $550 each, to cover the $1.25 million shortfall, said Scott Tiano, executive director of the Las Vegas Veterans Memorial Foundation.
“The brick campaign came about to buy a brick for yourself or to recognize a family member,” he said, adding that the concept allows the community to have a stake in building the memorial.
The memorial has been on the drawing board since 2009 and has endured a location change. The original site was moved from Huntridge Circle Park to a proposed 2-acre site near Heritage Park and the Cashman Center cultural corridor.
The memorial will feature 18 statues of men and women who served from the Revolutionary War through the post-9/11 wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Tiano said five statues made of a magnesium-aluminum alloy to resist heat and wind have been completed. They are figures of soldiers from the Revolutionary, Civil and Vietnam wars, in addition to a World War II nurse and a post-9/11 fighter pilot.
“The remaining 13 are in some stage of production,” he said.
Eight of the 18 will be made of bronze, including the centerpiece, which is a collection of a Special Forces soldier, a helicopter crew chief and two post-9/11 troops.
“A lot of people have been wondering what is taking so long,” Tiano said.
The artist who was selected for the project, Douwe Blumberg, was granted time off to finish a project in New York for the 2011 Veterans Day. He was one of four finalists after the Las Vegas Arts Commission and the foundation had sorted through “a couple hundred resumes,” Tiano said.
Blumberg was paid $1.05 million by the foundation to complete the 18 statues for the Las Vegas Veterans Memorial.
Tiano, a retired Marine, said the foundation was charged with raising the money while the city provided a suitable location to build the memorial. While the project is underway, American Shooters, a local veteran-operated retail firearms and range business, has donated overhead for completing the project. All services are volunteered.
After the memorial is built, “We’re donating the entire land back to the city,” he said.
Bricks for the fundraising campaign can be customized with the name of a veteran, rank, dates and branch of service. Those that are 8-inch squares sell for the top price and include a military seal. Those that are 4-by-8 inches sell for $250.
A brick can be purchased in the honor or memory of someone who has served. Details on the brick campaign and how to purchase one can be found at lasvegasveteransmemorial.org.
In keeping with his Army Ranger tradition, retired Lt. Col. Bill Anton, of North Las Vegas, is “leading the way” with his recent purchase of a $550 brick that includes the Army seal.
“I think Las Vegas should honor its veterans, and we should have a special place for veterans,” said Anton, who was inducted into the Army Ranger Hall of Fame in 2009.
“We who have served should be rightfully proud and support this endeavor,” he said.
Contact Keith Rogers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0308. Find him on Twitter @KeithRogers2.