Vinton-Roanoke County Veterans Monument

Submitted by Lawrence Bechtel

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Client: Town of Vinton

Location: Vinton, VA, United States

Completion date: 2011

Artwork budget: $350,000

Project Team

Artist

Lawrence Bechtel

Lawrence Reid Bechtel Sculpture Studio

Artist

Mary Babcock

Hillbilly Pond Works

Overview

This was an extensive project, five years to complete, with much community input. It expanded to include both the Town of Vinton and Roanoke County. I prepared the inital concept drawings and assembled the artist team John E. Kirtley, Jr., (contractor), Mary Babcock (landscaping) and myself. The central structure is 24' x 15'(h); overall area 3000 sq ft, approximately

Goals

Many elements had to be worked into the design to satisfy community stakeholders, to and yet fit the overall aesthetic and with a tight budget. The fundamental idea was to provide a place of contemplation and beauty, for visitors wishing to celebrate the lives and sacrifice of veterans. I drew up initial concept drawings and assembled the artist team .Major elements: Octagonal structure, bronze flag, water fountain, inscribed granite name plates, inscribed words on lintels, medallions of service branches also on lintels, star-point shaped brick entry ways, handicapped access ramps, seating, and landscaping with dogwoods, boulders, flowers--all of this within a very compact space.

Process

Many meetings were required with stakeholders and community representatives; both scheduling and budget were discussed extensively; meetings were also required with the major contractors. I was generally the liaison, for both in-person meetings and extensive email correspondence; I prepared the initial budget estimates and timeline, and drew up the contract; John E. Kirtley, Jr., as contractor, actually signed the contract took charge of the construction. Mary Babcock handled the landscaping, including machine and hand-stitching the flag which became the basis for the bronze flag.

Additional Information

This was a long project and a very sizable undertaking for a small community, and required a great deal of patience and willingness to work through obstacles, from everybody. The end result was outstanding; John E. Kirtley, Jr. deserves an award for his painstaking work, down to the last brick, and Mary Babcock was resilient and painstaking in her work. I love the poetry I came up with for the lintels: "Here Pause Awhile/And Bless Their Sleep/Who Fell in War/To Save Our Peace/Then Go Renewed/And Build the Lives/They Lost for You/In God We Trust.