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Larger-than-life-size model of soldier for bronze statue gets final approval

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 January 2018 at 11:58 am

Statue of soldier expected to be installed later this year outside former Armory in Medina

Provided photos courtesy of Lynne Menz

LOCKPORT – Brian Porter of Lockport has been working the past year to create a model of a soldier who looks like one of the young men who trained at the Armory in Medina. The Company F Monument Committee raised $65,000 for a 7-foot-high bronze statue, which is on target to be installed later this fall. It will go on top of a Medina sandstone monument outside the former Medina Armory, which is now a YMCA.

Members of the committee visited Porter’s home studio on Saturday to give a clay model of the statue a final stamp of approval. The model will be moved to the University of Buffalo’s foundry for the mold and casting process.

Those pictured include, from left: Lynne Menz, Cathy Fox, Kathy Iorio, Bill Menz, Jim Freas and Lynne Stewart. Sculptor Brian Porter is in back.

Bill Menz is chairman of the committee that has worked about 10 years on the project. Porter’s model looks like a pre-WWII soldier.

The Company F Memorial Committee is moving along with its effort to have a 7-foot-high bronze statue erected outside the former Armory in Medina.

For about 75 years the Armory on Pearl Street was used as a training site for soldiers . The statue will honor those soldiers and help people appreciate the building’s past in preparing soldiers to defend the country.

Porter is an assistant professor of art at Erie Community College. He created the statue for the Seabees Memorial in North Tonawanda.

The Medina project is the first where he is incorporating 3-D imaging to assist in creating the molds for the cast bronze statue. Porter also collected accessories such as the WWI campaign hat, backpack and a rifle that was carried the day the soldiers left Medina in October 1940.

Lynne Stewart, daughter of WWII veteran Glenn Stewart, holds back her emotions at her first viewing. “He would have been so proud of this,” Stewart said. Porter also was moved by her reaction in seeing the clay model of the solider.

Committee members include three daughters of Company F veterans. The daughters were in attendance to inspect the clay model for approval on Saturday. This was the first time that Lynne Stewart and Kathy Iorio viewed the larger-than-life rendition and were overcome with emotion.

Retired Staff Sargent Jim Freas also saw the model for the first time on Saturday. He shared his expertise and suggested a change to the hand position that would be more representative of marching protocol during that period in military history.  The committee members in attendance unanimously approved the sculpture with the requested change.

The final “stamp of approval” was placed by Chairman Menz as suggested by Porter. Menz strategically planted his thumb print on the soldier’s knee as a sign of his approval and also to symbolize his initiative, concept and creation of the Company F Memorial.

Jordan Rath and his son Landon, 3, look at the giant clay soldier. Jordan is a stone mason who will be assisting with the installation. Jordan’s father Brad Rath was involved in Phase I of the memorial as a supplier of sandstone and consultant.

Welder John Kage and Jordan Rath have been recruited by Menz to assist Porter with attaching the finished statue to the existing Medina Sandstone monument.  The installation is expected to be this fall.

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