An Iraq war veteran and current Clark State Community College student is spearheading an effort to create an outdoor art memorial on the school’s campus to honor the memory of our nation’s fallen soldiers.
Scott Cody, 26, served in the Ohio Army National Guard for seven years, including a year-long tour in Iraq. Now, as a member of the Clark State student senate, he heads a student committee that is working to create an inviting atmosphere on the college’s campus for other veterans. He believes the Fallen Warriors Memorial will help other veterans, student or not, feel embraced by the college community.
“Our entire focus is to improve student life here at the campus, and on the veteran’s side of things, it’s been one of those aspects that has been overlooked,” Cody said.
Cody first proposed the idea of the memorial at the end of 2013, and hopes it will serve as a symbol of Clark State’s commitment to its veteran students and campus visitors. The committee hopes to dedicate the memorial on Veteran’s Day this year.
There are many well-known veterans memorials throughout the state and country, but the goal of Clark State’s memorial will be to stand out as unique. Cody researched memorials on other college campuses before making his proposal and could not find any record of similar campus fallen soldiers memorials.
The process of soliciting funding and seeing an idea come to fruition will also serve as a learning process for the students involved in the project, said Mark Elliott, vice chair of the board of directors for the Clark State Foundation. The board will aid the student senate with the project’s fundraising efforts by reaching out to its network of donors.
The student committee has set an early goal and budget of $25,000. The team has set up a fundraising drive that will give anyone who donates more than $15 a t-shirt that includes the project’s logo. Organizers are also planning community events like Zumba-thons, which will be held in the college’s gym.
The Foundation board sees the collaboration with student senate as an opportunity to help further the students’ education through real-world fundraising and event coordination, said Elliott.
“We can help the students realize these things don’t happen by magic,” he said.
Through a contest, the committee is currently seeking designs for the memorial from Clark State students. Although the effort will be made on a limited budget, the goal is to create a durable, outdoor installation that will withstand the natural elements. The memorial will be located behind the Sara T. Landess Technology and Learning Center at the Leffel Lane campus of Clark State.
The final design contest will be judged by Ann Fortescue, executive director of the Springfield Museum of Art, and Mike Major, a sculptor and artist from Urbana who has many of his own sculptures on display around Clark County. The deadline for submissions is April 11.
To donote to the Fallen Warrior memorial, you can call the Clark State Foundation at 937-328-6009.