Veterans ask for support

Local artist and veteran John Kobald has created a 14-inch clay maquette of a modern-day soldier which will be the model for a veteran memorial to honor the men and women of Rio Blanco County who have served in the five branches of the military.

Local artist and veteran John Kobald has created a 14-inch clay maquette of a modern-day soldier which will be the model for a veteran memorial to honor the men and women of Rio Blanco County who have served in the five branches of the military.
RBC I Several veterans from local VFW Post 5843 presented a proposal to place a bronze statue of a modern-day soldier on the south sidewalk of the courthouse lawn and Rio Blanco County commissioners had no objections to the project.
“We’re a patriotic county,” Tom Kilduff, post commander, told Rio Blanco County commissioners Shawn Bolton, Ken Parsons and Kai Turner.
“Approximately 8 percent of the county’s population are veterans,” said Mike Gould, a 30-year member of the local VFW. “The statue shows a modern-day soldier, they have done numerous tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. These kids have done a lot for this country, they give us everything they’ve got and it’s time to honor these young, modern-day soldiers.”
Local veteran and artist John Kobald has already completed a 13-inch maquette of the statue and shared a drawing of what the full-size statue would look like and where it would be placed.
“We would like it in front of the courthouse because it is our veterans who protect our freedom and justice,” Kobald said. “We would like to honor our veterans by the memorial being front and center of the courthouse.”
The statue would be located along the sidewalk of the south entrance. Built to a scale of 1.25 of life-size, the soldier will be approximately 8 feet tall and the overall statue, including a stone pedestal, would be more than 11 feet tall.
Kobald said the statue would be placed and bolted onto a stainless steel table and the same kind of stone used in the courthouse would be used for the hexagon-shaped pedestal to “tie it in.”
“An honor plaque of the Rio Blanco County Veteran Memorial will be placed on the south side of the pedestal, for visitors to see as they walk into the courthouse, and emblems of the five military branches on the other five sides,” Kobald said.
“We wanted the soldier looking west and as the sun sets it will light this guy up and be extremely dramatic and beautiful,” Kobald continued.
Joe Dungan, the veteran services officer for the eastern end of the county said they have read books and spoken to veterans who’ve served recently to “make it as realistic as to what they are carrying.”
“I think we have done a pretty good job. We see this as a center piece,” Dungan said.
Kobald said they would be making 13-inch and 30-inch statues, as well as the full-size one. One of the 30-inch models would be donated to the Rangely VFW for them to place in a civic building.
Dungan said they were seeking approval and support from the commissioners to place the statue on the courthouse lawn so they can began seeking donations for the project.
Kilduff said it would be a VFW project and they would be seeking to raise between $75,000 to $85,000 for the project.
Kilduff said the plaques would all be bronze and the one on the south side of the pedestal would read:
“Rio Blanco County Veteran Memorial, for all the men and women who have served in the air, land or sea.”
Commissioner Parsons suggested putting it on the Feb. 13, agenda to “adopt it formally within a commissioners’ meeting.”
In other news, commissioners appointed several people to serve on many boards. Mike Lopez was added to the fair board; Clint Chappell to the planning board; Tod Gould to the fairgrounds management board; Jeff Heinle to the Columbine Park board; Scott Robertson, Mike Lopez, Phyllis Lake and Dave Allan to the weed board and Matt Dupire, a Bureau of Land Management representative, as an “ex-officio” to the weed board. Chris Uphoff was reappointed to the historic preservation board, Jody Meakins to the MCCIC board and Mike Morgan to the Rangely Regional Library board.