Memorial statue commissioned from Fort Sumner sculptor

Courtesy photo Fort Sumner-based artist Mike Scovel has been commissioned to recreate a saluting boy he created for a veterans memorial in Temple, Texas, for a veterans plaza in Schertz, Texas. The original was created nine years ago with his grandson, Kolter West of Fort Sumner, serving as the model.

Kevin Wilson

When Ruth Tienor saw the statue of a weeping child clutching an American flag while saluting, she knew Schertz, Texas, needed to see it.

Mike Scovel crafted the likeness of his grandson Kolter West in white stone for a veterans memorial in Temple, Texas, about nine years ago. The life-size statue stands in an eternal salute to soldiers, fallen or not.

“When you see a boy with tears running down his cheeks, and he is touched by the fact (there is) a fallen soldier, you can’t help but feel empathy for that statue,” said Tienor, part of a 10-member steering committee for the Schertz Veterans Plaza. “You cannot help but love him. He’s just the future of what our plaza wants to depict.”

Scovel has been commissioned to do a bronze version of Temple’s statue for Schertz, a city of 31,000 that helps form the San Antonio-New Braunfels metropolitan area.

Scovel, who has lived in Fort Sumner for four years, has created numerous sculptures honoring military figures, including a 1994 monument to Medal of Honor recipient Roy Penavidez in Cuero, Texas, and Temple’s Pool of Tears Veterans Memorial in 2003.

“Veterans memorials are more than another commission to me,” said Scovel, a Vietnam veteran who has created art in numerous mediums since 1978. “They allow me to honor my brothers in arms, both past and present.”

According to a release from the steering committee, Scovel would normally charge around $30,000, but reduced fees due to the purpose of the sculpture. Tienor got in touch with Scovel after seeing his work in Temple, and the committee agreed to pay about $20,000 for the sculpture, along with delivery and installation. The committee is defraying expenses by offering sponsorships, including monogrammed bricks on the floor of the design, at www.veteransplaza.org.

The plaza design will be a pentagon over a star with its five tips pointing to pillars representing military branches., with a smaller pentagon containing a U.S., Texas and POW/MIA flag. The young boy will face another bronze statue of the Battle Cross of the Fallen Soldier on a small hill.

Scovel said he plans to use a younger step-grandson as his model this time, as 18-year-old Kolter no longer fits the description. He expects he’ll take three months to complete the mold, plus another six weeks for the foundry he uses to finish its process.