Local News

New statue will be a salute to WWII Veterans

Photo courtesy of CTV Community Television/Youtube Algonac VFW Pose 3901 Senior Vice Commander Jim Fernandez and Denny Danneels addressed the Marine City Commission at an April 21 meeting.

By Barb Pert Templeton

It’s a bronze statue that stands five feet tall, weighs about 300 pounds, and will soon take its place near the Veterans and Fireman’s Memorial at Waterworks Park in Marine City.

The project began more than six months ago, spearheaded by Algonac VFW Post 3901 Senior Vice Commander Jim Fernandez and Denny Danneels, a member of the Vietnam Veterans of America. The duo hopes to see the statue in place before this coming Memorial Day.

Fernandez said the statue depicts a soldier standing in front of his wheelchair saluting. He said it’s an image that’s often seen live at area parades when veterans in wheelchairs will stand up and offer a salute to the passing units.

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“This is a WWII soldier and something to honor all of them,” Fernandez said, during a recent phone interview.

The impressive statue was created by a company in Ohio and the price tag was $35,000. 

Photo courtesy of Jim Fernandez
The Last Man Standing statue honoring WWII soldiers will be placed along Water Street in Marine City.

Fernandez said the post actually didn’t even create any fundraisers to collect the money instead once the word got out about the plan donations from the public, including many local veterans not affiliated with Post 3901, just flowed in.

Danneels and Fernandez spoke at the last regular meeting of the Marine City Commission on April 21, 2022.

Fernandez explained the statue would be placed where the current monument is, that one being a field cross, boots, and helmet. The Last Man Standing will be facing the field cross with the wheelchair behind it while saluting. He said there will be a list on the monument of all the area soldiers who have been killed in action

“This is a salute to them,” Fernandez told the commissioners.

“It’ll be anchored in good on a slab with six-inch bolts going down into it so it doesn’t blow away or walk away,” he laughed.

Danneels told the commission he was hoping to have it approved so they can put it in place by Memorial Day.

“It’ll look good going through town this year,” Danneels added. 

The city commission then approved an exemption to the park moratorium for the Veteran’s Memorial statue on Water Street. 

“I just want to say it’s beautiful it’s going to be a nice addition to the park you guys do a wonderful job,” Hendrick said.

The park already has paved and lighted walkways, picnic tables, and a coin-op, long-range binoculars for sightseeing.

Fernandez said the statue is currently housed in his garage but he’s making plans to get people and equipment in place to have it moved to Waterworks Park very soon. 

Seeing the project come to fruition is certainly gratifying to Fernandez who can’t wait to see it in place downtown for the annual Memorial Day Parade on May 30.

The statue is also special to Danneels as it will honor his father, Harold Danneels, a 94-year-old WWII Veteran who lives in Marine City.

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