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MN artists work on new sculpture for underwater memorial

NEAR KELLOGG, Minn. (FOX 47) – Earlier this summer we highlighted artists from Kellogg as they worked on a ‘Circle of Heroes’ memorial. Now, Dave and Shelly Speedling remain hard at work on their latest project for the memorial, a custom life size Coast Guard statue.

“We have poured the William R. Flores mold. We’ve been working on it for about 6 months with the Coast Guard, Circle of Heroes, and the brother Sam Flores.” Said Shelly Speedling from SVJ Creative Designs.

At the young age of 18, William R. Flores lost his life while serving in the United States Coast Guard while saving the lives of others when his ship sank. Flores received the Coast Guard’s highest medal of honor.

This statue is to honor Flores and the 23 others who died during the sinking of the Blackthorn.

“First we hire a sculptor to sculpt it all out of clay, then we have a mold maker that put rubber, the fiberglass, and that there takes about two and a half to three months at least. Sometimes it will take up to six to eight months to have a mold made.” Said Dave Speedling from SVJ Creative Designs.

Once approved by the clients, around 1,100 pounds of concrete is mixed, poured and then left to set for 24 hours, leaving behind meticulous details.

With this Coast Guard sculpture, a commemorative coin is being placed inside the statue. This is in honor of William R. Flores.

“We will ship this down to the Coast Guard near Clearwater/St. Petersburg, Florida. They will have it on display until the 40th anniversary, which is January 28th, 2020. And there will be a huge dedication with his family flying in from all around the United States.” Said Shelly Speedling.

The Circle of Honor Veterans Memorial is the first underwater memorial of its kind.

It not only honors those who have served.. but is also meant to be used as a therapeutic dive site for veterans with PTSD, depression, and trauma.

Victoria Carra

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