Evart community members attend dedication of veterans memorial

EVART — A steady stream of people approached David Brickey Saturday afternoon, some with tears in their eyes, all offering thanks for the newest monument outside the Evart VFW Post No. 7979.

From local politicians to area businessmen to military veterans, dozens of attendees were on hand to celebrate the dedication of a project many years in the making.

Located behind the VFW building, the Huey UH-1 Veterans Memorial features an actual Huey UH-1 military helicopter placed atop metal pillars. While the helicopter is in the air, placed around the perimeter of the monument are three sculptures depicting military personnel.

The site is an important place for community members to reflect on military service, as well as a tribute and recognition of veterans, said Brickey, commander of the Evart VFW and the Thomas Smith AMVETS Post No. 11.

"Someone will pull up and stop to look at this and I'll just know they are a veteran," Brickey said. "They don't have to say a word. I can just tell. This means a lot to them."

With the sun shining and the Evart High School Band playing, the dedication ceremony featured remarks from Ferris State University Professor Robert Barnum, who created the three sculptures, as well as Logan Wyse, an architecture student who created the site design.

Barnum said it was an honor to be involved in the project, while Wyse also expressed his gratitude at being able to part of designing the memorial.

"This is not for me. This is for all of you," Wyse said, addressing the veterans in the crowd. "It's for all the sacrifices you've made and what you've done. I'm thankful for the opportunity to do something for you and give back a little of what you've given to us."

Dennis Patterson, a Vietnam veteran and helicopter pilot, also spoke during the event.

Patterson gave some background information about the Huey HU-1, but spent most of his time detailing a rescue mission he flew.

Brickey said the project would not have been possible without the numerous individuals and companies who donated their time, talents and money to the effort.

"If it wasn't for them, we wouldn't be here today," he said.