By Jeffra Wise DeViney
DeQuincy Veteran’s Association’s Veteran’s Memorial Park is one big step closer to being a dream realized by the original visionary, the late Dr. Howard Snider, who fought at the Battle of Iwo Jima and was on top of Mt. Suribachi at the time the historic flag was raised on Feb. 23, 1945.
On Thursday, Oct. 24, Phase I of the project was completed. The monument’s silhouette, built from 3/4 inch steel bridge iron by Brian Cooper of DeQuincy, was put in place on its concrete base, which was constructed by Ava Maria Construction.
Brady Cunningham, with Deep South Crane & Rigging, provided a crane and crew to logistically attach the sculpture. The 8-9 foot structure will naturally patina over time and weighs over 5,000 pounds. The flag pole will be 18 foot tall.
Rocks will be added to the base, as well as lighting, landscaping, and a walkway. Later a walking trail will be added. Brookshire Bros. has donated three parking spaces, located in their parking lot for dedicated parking.
All funds for the project have been from local donors. Recently the First United Pentecostal Church donated $1,000 with proceeds from their pumpkin patch. DeQuincy Chamber of Commerce donated $500, earmarked for landscaping. Estimated final completion is May, 2020.
Jonathan Haley of DeQuincy is a Project Engineer with Deep South Crane & Rigging, LLC., and was the engineer over the lift of the Iwo Jima sculpture at the Veterans Memorial Park. What makes it so special to him was that his grandfather, Kenneth Haley, was a VietNam Veteran and retired Army Major and will have a memorial brick at the park. Haley was so honored to be a part of the project.
He is a 2014 DeQuincy High School graduate and graduated from McNeese in May of 2018. He is the son of Kevin and Katy Haley.
The DeQuincy Veteran’s Association Board members are Bubba Blackburn, Donald Blackburn, Mayor Riley Smith, Lori Mitchell and Lawrence Henagan. Dr. Snider and the late Hershel Frazier, were also board members.
For more information or to donate funds, call 713-283-4258.