JEROME, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) The names of fallen soldiers filled the air in Gayle Forsyth Park Saturday morning.
They were read as part of a dedication of the Sergeant Dan Brown Idaho Fallen Soldier Memorial. They were read as they appeared on a bowed wall behind a statue covered with a black tarp. Before that tarp was removed people spoke to the crowd of more than 200. They spoke about Sgt. Brown, veterans and America in general. John Martinez was one of those people.
"Four years ago I was the Chaplain who was part of the notification team to the Brown family about his death," Martinez said. "It was an honor to be here on this side honoring that family."
Brown died serving in Afghanistan in 2012.
"Losing Dan was such a tough thing and to do something just to honor him and honor other soldiers was very important," said Jerry Brown, Dan's father."
So Jerry decided to make a statue honoring his son and other soldiers, he paid for the sculpture at first, then needed some help fundraising to finish the project.
Lena Toritch made the sculpture of Brown.
"It's very emotional for me," she said. "Because I go through many photographs, I listen to the family's stories and it's very heartbreaking because you get to know a person, but he's already gone."
Dan is depicted high-fiveing a small Afghani boy. Jerry says he feels that embodies the spirit of a soldier and especially his son.
In front of a crowd of a few hundred, the statue was unveiled, by Dan's twin daughters. The two girls never got to meet their dad.
"That was something on my heart to have something that these girls could come and see dad, they never got to see dad," Jerry said.
Jerry says the statue is for the whole community to see Dan, especially kids.
"I hope they feel free to climb on it and do whatever because I know that's what Dan would like," he said.