Monument is on track for fundraising

Sam Hagan stands where the Fallen Soldier Memorial, his Eagle Scout project, will go behind the VFW.  Jenae Peterson/jenae.peterson@austindailyherald.com

Sam Hagan stands where the Fallen Soldier Memorial, his Eagle Scout project, will go behind the VFW.
Jenae Peterson/jenae.peterson@austindailyherald.com

Sam Hagan is about to add his own construction to the remodel of the Veterans of Foreign Wars club.

Sam has raised just less than $5,000 of his $6,000 goal to place a fallen soldier memorial in the corner of the VFW parking lot as a project to earn Eagle Scout status.

Sam Hagan stands with artist Neil Brodin who created the Fallen Soldier Memorial statue similar to the one Hagan will include in his memorial behind the VFW. Photo providedJenae Peterson/jenae.peterson@austindailyherald.com

Sam Hagan stands with artist Neil Brodin who created the Fallen Soldier Memorial statue similar to the one Hagan will include in his memorial behind the VFW. Photo providedJenae Peterson/jenae.peterson@austindailyherald.com

He and his father, Dennis Hagan, were surprised by the generous donations they’ve received from private donors.

“The local support he’s been getting from private people has just been phenomenal,” Dennis said.

As the Austin Daily Herald first reported on June 26, Sam is working to build a memorial featuring a 3 ½-foot tall, 150-pound statue made of solid bronze. The statue features a pair of boots with an army gun propped up out of them and a helmet at the top. It will also have a bronze plaque, and the artist is looking into the idea of attaching bronze tags with the VFW symbol. A groundbreaking for the memorial is set for Aug. 3.

The statue, previously coming from Maryland, will now be coming from Brodin Studios in Minnesota. Neil Brodin, a former police officer and veteran, started the company with his brother, joined later by his other brother and a long-time life and business partner.

“I think everybody liked the idea that it’s made right here in Minnesota,” Dennis said. “We’re pretty happy about that.”

Brodin agreed to try to come to the statue’s dedication in November.

Donations for the project have come from near and far.

Some of the donations Sam received donations from St. Charles Child Care, where Sam attended 12 years ago, a private donation from Castleford, England, and a private donation from San Antonio, Texas. Many of the donors are veterans or former Eagle Scouts themselves.

Dennis told a story of an elderly woman knocking on their door one Sunday morning and handing them a check. They didn’t know who she was, but she had read about Sam’s project in the paper and wanted to donate.

The Masons of Austin are also helping out by holding a pancake breakfast feed. All proceeds will be matched dollar for dollar by the Masonic Charities and will go to the memorial.

Sam said he feels good that people want to get behind this project.

“A lot of people care about this project, and wherever they’re from they try to contribute,” Sam said.

Sam, a Boy Scout for eight years, needs to fulfill a leadership project to receive the rank of Eagle Scout.

After speaking with the VFW about his idea for the monument, they agreed to let him put it in the parking lot. Sam currently ranks as a Life Scout and is the senior patrol leader in Boy Scout Troop 113.

Dennis hopes that Sam can inspire others to get involved in scouts.

“I hope it does maybe influence some of the other kids in Austin, maybe to either go into scouting, or try scouting, or stay in scouting,” Dennis said.

Donation List

VFW, Austin — $1,000

American Legion Post 91 — $1,000

Disabled American Veterans, Austin — $1,000

Austin Police Officers Association — $500

VFW Ladies Auxiliary Post 1216 — $400

Branch 717 National Association of Letter Carriers, Austin — $200

St. Charles Child Care — $200

Endless Journeys Child Care, Rochester — $200

Private Donation, Austin — $150

Private Donation, Sauk Rapids — $50

Private Donation, Castleford, England — $50

Masons, Austin — Pancake breakfast donation

VFW Men’s Auxiliary Post 1216, Austin — pending cash donation

Knights of Columbus — pending cash donation

Eagles — pending cash donation

Private donation, San Antonio, Texas — pending cash donation

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