While the recent spotlight has been on the new Jasper County Veterans Memorial Complex situated on the Jasper County Courthouse’s east lawn, the original memorial on the south lawn hasn’t been forgotten.
On Tuesday morning, three members of the Jasper County Vietnam Vets began the annual four hour process of cleaning and polishing the bronze cast statue that depicts one soldier holding a wounded comrade and yelling for help.
Bud Pickett said it’s the third year the cleaning has taken place. The JCVV’s took up the cause of maintaining the statue after Linda Klepinger — director of the Centre for Arts & Artists and wife of the sculptor, Nick, brought up the idea.
“The first year we had a little bit of trouble. We had too many people working on it and got too much wax on it. Last year, we had to go through and start cleaning it off and we worked with Nick Klepinger on it,” Pickett said.
Learning from their early mistake, the group now only has a handful of volunteers at a time work on the statue. Fellow veterans Randy Wagner and David Schnathorst joined Pickett for this year’s cleaning, typically done in August or September.
“It’s going to look a lot shinier than it did before,” Wagner said.
“Any complaints and we are going to quit,” Schnathorst added.
“Any complaints, they can have it next time,” Wagner quipped back.
To help pass the time, the group will joke and reminisce. Pickett and Schnathorst have known each other since the eighth-grade and just went to their 50th class reunion this summer. Wagner likes to tease the duo about their age and about them being drafted versus volunteering like he chose to.
All jokes aside, the group knows the importance of their job and how significant this monument is to the men and women who served, and their families.
“Proud to serve, just like the old military days,” Wagner said.
Contact Senior Staff Writer Ty Rushing at (641) 792-3121 ext. 6532 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.