BLACKFOOT — The statue that will be unveiled soon at Blackfoot’s Patriot Field is now paid for in full.
Representatives of the Bingham Health Care Foundation presented Bingham County with a check for $10,000 Thursday morning at the site where the statue will go. The check is the final amount needed to fund the 7-foot, bronze statue in the center of Patriot Field.
The veterans’ memorial park is across the street from the Bingham County Courthouse in downtown Blackfoot at 355 N. Ash
Officials say the $120,000 statue, sculpted by Blackfoot native Ben Hammond, was paid for completely by private donations with no money from the state or county required. Earlier in the year, Bingham Healthcare donated $20,000 toward the project.
Bingham County Commissioner Mark Bair said the statue will arrive in Blackfoot May 21, it will be mounted on the stone that is already at the field, and on May 24 at 11 a.m. it will be unveiled in a special ceremony open to the public, with remarks from Idaho Gov. Brad Little, Major General Michael Garshak, Commanding General for the Idaho National Guard, Stuart Portela from Firth representing Vietnam veterans, and the sculptor, Ben Hammond.
“On behalf of the Bingham Health Care Foundation, we are honored to be a donor to this worthy cause,” said Danette Roberts, executive director of the Foundation. “It is a privilege to be part of a community that recognizes those that have come before us in order that we may have and enjoy the freedoms of today.”
The bronze statue features a military officer handing a folded American flag to two children, paying tribute to war veterans and prisoners of war from Bingham County.
“The statue serves as an important reminder for everyone to never forget those who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom,” Bair said. “I’m grateful to Bingham Healthcare, the Bingham Health Care Foundation, and all of the individual community members and businesses for funding the statue through your generous donations.”
“It was an honor to have the opportunity to donate these funds to this marvelous statue,” said Bingham Health Care President Norm Stanley. “We are proud of our veterans, we are proud of their sacrifices. We honor them with this donation.”