Dawson-Bryant unveils ‘student-soldier’ memorial
COAL GROVE, Ohio — After five years of fundraising and planning, Dawson-Bryant High School unveiled its new memorial dedicated to students who have served their country during a Sunday ceremony filled with community and American pride.
Named for lifelong Coal Grove residents and World War I soldiers Homer Dawson and Curtis Bryant who were killed in the line of duty, Dawson-Bryant has around 10 students enlist each year, said Principal Dean Mader. In fact, a current senior has already gone through boot camp and will begin service upon graduating.
Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Scott Vanderhoof, Dawson-Bryant class of 1979, said the commitment to creating the statue speaks to the school and the community’s patriotism.
The statue depicts a student in a graduation cap and gown holding a triangular-folded American f lag and a degree. He stands on a hill, which features military helmets designed in the style of each war.
According to the program, the statue does not show weapons of war, but rather the patriotism many young people demonstrate by joining the armed forces who carry the knowledge and lessons from the Dawson-Bryant community. Vanderhoof spoke to this notion, saying Dawson-Bryant prepared a country boy to be a world traveler.
“I was prepared by this high school to succeed in life,” Vanderhoof said. “Not through any specific preparation but through an understanding that hard work and perseverance pays off and realizing that selfworth comes from accomplishing a goal. I learned that through the best 12 years of my life.”
The statue was designed by Alan Cottril of Zanesville, Ohio, with the help of Dawson-Bryant students who designed the helmets. It was the first time Cottril,
an accomplished sculptor, worked with high school students.
The idea for the memorial came when Mader visited Count’s studio when he was in Zanesville for training.
“He has about 100 bronze statues outside his studio, and I didn’t know what it was, so I went in and he was working.” Mader said. “He was working, but he stopped what he was doing and gave me a tour. We talked for about three hours, and he said he hears it a lot. but I told him I’m going to go home and we are going to figure out how to get a project going with you.”
The program Sunday included music from the Dawson-Bryant band, a performance from the Dawson-Bryant Middle School fifth-graders and a 21-Gun Salute from the Ironton VFW Post 8850.
The statue is located in front of the high school’s main entrance.