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Group working to get statue installed at Bossier City veterans memorial

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By Stacey Tinsley, stinsley@bossierpress.com

The Women Veterans of the Ark La Tex has been raising funds to erect a life-size bronze statue in Bossier City to honor women veterans.

The statue is of a woman service member in battle dress uniform, representing servicewomen from all five branches of the military. She will be displayed on a granite base along with the five bronze service seals and the inscription, “Dedicated in honor of those women who have, those who are and those who will serve our great Nation.”

“This statue represents us all for the sacrifices we made and for our love of country. As a group, we stand up for all military, active and retired, and our statue will go on for years reminding the community that all those women who served did so willingly. They have a place in our military history,” said Caroline King, of the Women Veterans of the Ark La Tex.

Louisiana artist and sculptor, Jerry Gorum, has completed a model of the monument statue. The monument has an estimated cost of $100,000. To date the group has raised approximately $40,000.00 from private and corporate donations, and various fund raisers.

The monument will be located at the Veterans Memorial between the Municipal Complex and the Bossier Civic Center in Bossier City.

“Bossier City was the perfect spot, as a central location in the Ark-La-Tex, for her to find a permanent home,” King explained.

The mission of the organization is to honor and assist women Veterans who have and continue to serve our country. And their goal is to unite women Veterans and provide opportunities for camaraderie, education, and community service.

The number of women serving in the U.S. military has increased over the years and, according to the Pentagon, there are currently just over 214,000 women serving in the U.S. military which represents about 15 percent of the total force. In 2016, there were approximately 2.1 million women veterans.

With more than 2 million women veterans in the United States, over 70 percent are not aligned with any veteran service organization. The Women Veterans of the Ark La Tex seeks to fill this gap.

Kattie Hollay, military relations liaison at Bossier Chamber of Commerce and member of Women Veterans of the Ark-La-Tex, is proud and humbled to be a part of this organization.

“It is truly an honor to have this monument erected here. She represents all the women who have served and continue to defend our country, standing for sacrifice, courage and duty. I feel very proud and humbled to be a part of this great opportunity and I am grateful the City granted us such a perfect location here in Bossier City. Our hope is ALL our women vets out there will see her and know that there is a sisterhood here locally and are welcome with open arms,” she said.

The Women Veterans of the Ark La Tex is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization which was incorporated in February 2017.

Members pay no dues. All women Veterans and all active duty, Guard and Reserve women are invited to join.

The group has volunteered at the Traveling Vietnam Wall, painted a home for a disabled Veteran, donated over $300 of school supplies to Barksdale children and sent Mardi Gras decorations, beads and costumes to Louisiana troops deployed to Afghanistan.

Meetings are held on the second Saturday of each month at 9:30 a.m.

The group is currently accepting donations for the statue. You can donate online or find out more information at womenveteransofthearklatex.org.