Memorial to Honor Female Veterans

By Stephen Speckman

Deseret News

A group is seeking $500,000
in donations to build a unique park at the Fort Douglas Military Museum in
honor of female veterans.

Utah Military Veterans
Advisory Committee chairwoman Su Richards said several women in her group came
up with the idea because they felt females needed a memorial of their own.

“They were getting the
respect but not the honor,” said Richards, a research archivist at the
museum. “As near as I can tell, there are very few memorials for women
that have bronzes.”

Sculptor Jerime Hooley will
create two life-sized bronze sculptures. One will feature four women in
different period uniforms running across a map of the United States. A second
piece will depict a World War II nurse and a “woman warrior” lacing
up her combat boots, Richards said. Workers will also build a gazebo for the
memorial.

Hooley is an art teacher at Lehi High School. His sculptures can be seen at a Vietnam War memorial in West
Valley City and at a Korean War memorial in Cedar City.

“This is such a huge feather in my cap, to have the opportunity to have the first memorial in Utah
that’s honoring women and their service,” Hooley said. “It’s an
absolute honor. I really feel like it will be a premier monument on the
country. I don’t know that there’s another monument like it that honors women
in such a way.”

Richards’ nonprofit
committee has begun raising funds, with only about $20,000 collected so far.
The price of the sculptures alone will be about $140,000. She said the cost of
the project could be covered if every person in Utah who knows a female veteran
or is related to one donates just 50 cents.

“That’s not even the
price of a doughnut anymore,” Richards said. She’s shooting for a memorial
dedication by Veterans Day in 2010, or Women’s military history week in March
2011.

The site at Fort Douglas on
the University of Utah campus in Salt Lake City will be near the tanks outside
of the museum. The memorial will be open to the public during the museum’s
hours of operation.

People interested in
donating are asked to call 801-581-1251.

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