Jun 18, 2013 - By Andrea Novotny, Staff WriterA tribute to fallen U.S. Army Sgt. Maj. Kevin Griffin, featuring live music by the world famous Glenn Miller Orchestra, is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 19, at the Robert A. Peck Arts Center Theater at Central Wyoming College.
The event also includes a live and silent auction with items donated by individuals and businesses in the community, as well as some national figures. Proceeds go toward the construction of a monument in Veterans Park to honor Griffin.
Griffin was one of three American soldiers killed in a suicide bombing Aug. 8 in Afghanistan. He was a 24-year Army veteran.
Griffin grew up in Riverton and was a state champion wrestler at Riverton High School.
"Growing up in Riverton, most people knew Kevin," said his brother Shawn Griffin, who described him as a natural leader and "really a fun person who enjoyed life."
"People say that they enjoy life, but Kevin really did, and he wanted everyone around him to enjoy it too," Shawn Griffin continued. "He was very committed to the Army, and he was a loving and committed father."
The monument, which will be
constructed by Eagle Bronze of Lander, will be based on the battle cross, modified from the traditional gear of the World War II soldier to feature the helmet, boots and rifle worn by Kevin Griffin. It also will include a plaque with Kevin Griffin's name, picture and an inscription that has yet to be chosen. The anticipated cost of the statue is $52,000.
Pamela Canham, a member of the Riverton Police Foundation board and the fundraising coordinator for this project, said the design was selected because of its universal representation of the fallen American soldier. Kevin Griffin's family had an important role in the decision on the statue's design, Canham said.
"The setting we hope to create is one that will honor not only Kevin, but all American soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice," Canham said. "When you honor one soldier, you really honor all of them."
Canham said she hopes the project also will serve as a means of bringing the community together for closure, because Kevin Griffin's funeral and burial were held at Fort Carson, Colo.
The project began as a grassroots effort by a group of three veterans and the Riverton chief of police, who are all active in the American Legion.
The Riverton Police Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, will act as the fiscal agent, making all sponsorships and donations tax deductible.
The scheduled dedication date for the monument is Sept. 11.
There will be open seating at the event, with the exception of space reserved for family and active and retired military personnel. All military personnel who attend are asked to arrive in uniform.
Tickets to the tribute are $25 and are available at the CWC box office, KTAK-KVOW, The Ranger, the Lander Journal, Mammoth Music and the Riverton Police Department.
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