KSLA Salutes: From clay to bronze

The Women Veterans of the ArkLaTex continues its mission to create a statue honoring female veterans

Sculptor steps in to complete his late mentor's work on tribute to women veterans
(Source: Jerry Jones)
(Source: Jerry Jones)

BOSSIER CITY, La. (KSLA) — Women Veterans of the ArkLaTex has been working hard to bring Northwest Louisiana its very own bronze female statue that will honor female veterans.

“There may be five monuments to women veterans from all five services in our whole United States of America," said Sandy Franks, an Air Force veteran and president of Women Veterans of the ArkLaTex.

"This is the first one for Louisiana and the first for this whole section of the country; so this is historical.”

The total cost of this project is right around $100,000. So far, the group has raised half of the money.

The project had hit a road bump though when the original sculptor they hired, Jerry Gorum, died.

Jerry Jones with his mentor Jerry Gorum. This picture was taken in July 2014 during Jones's first lessons. (Source: Jerry Jones)
Jerry Jones with his mentor Jerry Gorum. This picture was taken in July 2014 during Jones's first lessons. (Source: Jerry Jones)

“He called and asked January of ’18 if I would come over because he was done chemo and radiation, would I come over and help him complete what he knew was going to be his last commission," Jerry Jones said.

Gorum was diagnosed with bone cancer and passed away in March 2018.

After that, his mentee Jones took over the project to make sure it was not just completed for our community but also for his friend.

“I actually have used clay from his studio," he said. "I’ve used tools that were in his studio, and I’ve just felt like he’s kind of been with me through this whole process.”

For over a year, Jones has dedicated the majority of his time to sculpting this life-size statue.

“I saved the boots for last because I knew all of the shavings of the clay would be in the boot laces and all of the detail,” he said. "I knew the boots were going to be eye level and had to be perfect, and so I spent the last 25 to 30 hours laying on the floor.”

Jones now has dropped off the statute at a foundry in Houston to transform the clay into bronze.

With more work to be done and money to be raised, Franks and Jones hope those who see the statue remember why it’s here once it’s completed.

“I hope they think about that there are daughters, wives, moms that are out there right now and say a prayer for them," Jones said. "(I hope) that they remember those 100 years from now, 200 years from now (and) are thankful for the women who stood for our country.”

The finished statue will be placed in front of the Bossier City Municipal Complex to honor the women who have served in our nation’s armed forces.

Franks hopes to officially dedicate the statue on the last Friday in March. That day will wrap up Women’s History Month.

Women Veterans of the ArkLaTex still is working to raise the last $50,000 to complete the concrete base as well as build the pedestal and walkway for the statue.

Click here to buy a brick.

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