|Canadian wants to honor Tipp's veterans|
|Written by Editor|
|Thursday, 21 June 2012 21:14|
Chad Johnston and his daughter Allison show what the Tipp Veterans Memorial statue will look like.
By JOYELL NEVINS
Record Herald Editor
TIPP CITY — A sense of honor can span any ethnic or geographic boundary. That’s why the Veterans Memorial Park in rural Tipp City will soon hold a sculpture created by Timothy P. Schmalz, a Canadian, and molded by founders in China.
The journey for Tipp started earlier this year when Veterans Memorial Committee Chairman Ron Re felt there should be more in the park to designate its military aspect. Since there is no sign saying “veterans memorial,” he thought a statue of a soldier would fulfill that purpose, and heard about one already created and being sold at a discounted rate.
However, the company that had made the statue raised the price at the last minute. This was after Re had secured partial funding through private donations and all the needed approvals from the Parks Board and Council. But when it looked like a sculpture in Tipp City was going to be a pipe dream, another avenue opened.
“You gotta believe in faith, sis; that’s no lie,” Re said in recounting the events.
Schmalz, who lives in the Toronto area, has specialized in Christian sculpture for the past 22 years. His work has been featured from Steubenville to Italy. He recently wanted to expand his art to include military sculpture as well.
“Christian sculpture is about the most important beliefs people have. Military sculpture is about the most important actions people have done,” Schmalz said, “They’re both very epic, very serious. The crossover is easy for me.”
Schmalz appreciates the gravity of military art.
In depicting the military man, he said, “There’s no tricky, modern, abstract thing. These people don’t have the time or patience for that. You honor real people with real sculpture.”
Schmalz is currently working on several veterans’ sculpture, including one for West Virginia. But why would a Canadian want to honor American veterans?
“Being out of the country gives me a different perspective on our ‘Big Brother to the South’,” Schmalz said, “An American soldier doesn’t fight for just his American family, but for his brothers and sisters in Canada and around the world. These guys, they go every day out there risking their lives.”
Schmalz compares his contribution to the Statue of Liberty, which was a gift to America from France.
“I want to give a bit of gratitude to the country that has liberated so many. I want to give hands and feet to those soldiers,” he said.
The connection with Tipp City came when Schmalz’s agent, Tony Frey, found a mention of Tipp’s Veterans Memorial on the Internet. He contacted the Tippecanoe Masonic Lodge No. 174, and the secretary gave him Re’s number. Frey offered to send Re some samples of statues Schmalz could do.
While Re and the other committee members were impressed by the samples, they were nervous about the price; since that’s where the hold-up came before. But while on the phone again with Frey, the next bombshell dropped.
“Tony told me ‘you weren’t listening – this guy was inspired about the sculpture; he’s also inspired about the price’,” Re said.
Other companies and sculptors had named prices between $80-100,000 for what the Tipp committee wanted. Schmalz was offering his art at $25,000.
“I near died — I thought he was kidding me,” Re recalled.
Other expenses include transportation and the foundation. Re said that someone has already donated the cement for the foundation, but the committee is still raising money for the statue itself, $765 to transport it and $450 for a 4-foot-by-4-foot piece of granite for the sculpture to rest on.
Community groups and businesses are already pitching in. Four Masons are paying for the shipment of the statue model (Schmalz makes a scaled one first to make sure everything is correct). Piqua Granite volunteered its services to set the granite and statue at no charge. Thrivent Financial, through financial associate Matt Buehrer, is giving $1,000 (the company matched Buehrer’s $500 donation). They’ve also promised to duplicate more donations from specific fundraisers. Tipp Monroe Community Services is handling all the paperwork for donations, allowing the money given to be tax-deductible.
“You gotta thank them all,” Re said.
A couple passing through town on their way from Florida to Michigan happened to stop and visit the memorial and downtown Tipp. When they saw the “Tipp Needs You” sign at Francis’s Barber Shop requesting donations for the sculpture, the husband didn’t hesitate.
“He poked his head in the door and said ‘I’m a veteran. I’ll write a check for $100’,” Re said.
Local residents have also just handed cash or checks to Re.
“They trust Ron; they know that Ron is a man of his word,” said Tara Dixon Engel, another member of the Veterans Memorial Committee.
“He has the biggest heart of anybody I’ve ever met. He inspires the rest of us,” she said.
The goal is for the statue to be unveiled in a special ceremony on Memorial Day 2013. Schmalz plans to attend the unveiling.
“I just can’t believe it to this day. Why does this guy want to do it for little Tipp City,” Re asked, concluding, “Why not accept it all and say ‘by the grace of God.’”
If you would like to donate to the statue fund, visit Tipp City Community Services at 3 E. Main St. during business hours.
There also will be a fundraiser from 5-10 p.m. June 27 at Harrison’s Restaurant, 106 E. Main St., Tipp City. Ten percent of food sales and the proceeds from a 50/50 raffle will be donated to support the bronze soldier statue. Additionally, funds raised that evening will be matched by Bueher.
Bricks can still be purchased for the Veterans Memorial at the Government Center, 260 Garber Ave. City crews install the bricks prior to Veterans Day each year. According to City Engineer Scott Vagedes, the city plans to establish a special fund for the brick purchases, and use that fund to replace plants, shrub and trees, maintenance on the open air structure, and any other upkeep in the Veterans Memorial Park.
Vagedes said that currently brick purchase money goes into the general operating fund, but is being tracked to date from the memorial brick purchases.How to Make a Sculpture:
“If a picture’s worth a thousand words, a sculpture is worth 10,000 words.” — Tim Schmalz
Tipp City’s statue will be different than the usually seen artwork of a military man or woman standing at attention in formal uniform. Schmalz’s statue, taken from the imagination and design of the Tipp Veterans Memorial Committee, will be of a modern GI from the Iraq-Afghanistan era in a battle dress uniform, the standard day-to-day camoflage worn by most GIs. The statue will be placed in the grassy area to the left of the gazebo. The soldier will be kneeling with a small girl sitting on his knee, pointing to the etched bricks of the memorial. The goal is to honor the generations of veterans, and acknowledge the family side of military men and women.
Schmalz will first create a clay rendition of the 6-foot statue in his Canadian “saint studio.” Then it goes to his studio in a village in China outside of Beijing where the whole village is made up pf mold makers and has been since the 1930s. Schmalz said he searched the world for these founders and they are “par excellance” (they’ve worked on statues two-thirds the size of the Statue of Liberty).
They then put plaster over the clay, which Schmalz describes as a “rubix cube” on top of his piece. Then the plaster is pieced off to be put back together again. That’s made into another mold of cement. Wax is melted into a “chocolate Easter bunny” consistency, poured into the cement mold, then burned out. After the wax is burned out, molten bronze is poured in. Once again, the bronze is pieced apart to take out of the mold, then pieced together again for Schmalz’s final inspection. The whole process takes six to eight months.
|Last Updated on Friday, 29 June 2012 14:19|