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Statue tribute draws attention

By Staff | Feb 7, 2009

It started with a statue, now it’s a movement.
Rudy Diaz and Dan Pardo have been working on a statue dedicated to the soldiers who serve, and have served, in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for more than a year.
The duo’s goal was to have the statue finished in time for Memorial Day, ’09, to be placed alongside the other memorials in Veterans Park.
That statue, very near to completion, inspired Frank Dethlefsen to organize something on larger scale.
The statue is now joined by a Web site, an original song, T-shirts, and a 5013c designation to help the fledgling group raise funds for its ultimate goal: not only place the statue in Veterans Park, but provide upkeep for it on a regular basis, and to continually honor veterans.
“It doesn’t stop when the statues are in place,” Dethlefsen said. “We can keep it alive as long as the community stays involved.”
Fund-raising efforts for “Tribute to a Soldier” starts tonight at Bike Night, kicking off a series of fund-raising opportunities over a three-month period.
The “Tribute to a Soldier” booth will be located on Southeast 47th Terrace near the main entertainment stage, close to the Twisted Conch.
Four fund-raising events follow, including: Cape Magic Symphony at Cultural Park on Feb. 28, Celebrate the Cape on March 7, Bike Night on April 11, and an east coast excursion for the 22nd Annual Vietnam and All Veterans Reunion in Brevard County.
Dethlefsen was “recruited” by Elmer Tabor, who had been lending the space for Diaz and Pardo to work on their creation.
Dethlefsen helped to transport the statues to Sarasota, where it would be bronzed and finished.
That was the beginning for Dethlefsen, who has now taken the organizational reins of this burgeoning opportunity.
Now, the Cape Coral Community Foundation, the City of Cape Coral, VFW Post #8463, VVA Post #594, and a number of private businesses have banded together to make this idea a reality.
“To me the story is amazing … it’s just amazing the way we all came together,” Dethlefsen said.
Dan Pardo seemed a bit overwhelmed about the quick turn of events, saying that he and Diaz simply set out to honor the troops.
“When we started this we just wanted to get the statue done. We couldn’t have perceived all of this,” He said.
For more information on Tribute to a Soldier, visit their booth at tonight’s Bike Night event in Downtown Cape.