GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- A memorial to Michigan soldiers, sailors, and airmen killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks is being sculpted in a West Michigan studio, despite low donations.
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Only $50,000 of about $400,000 needed for the Michigan Fallen Warrior Memorial has been raised, the Grand Rapids Press reported Saturday.
The bronze, larger-than-life-sized memorial features three soldiers and is being sculpted by artist Mic Carlson in his Grand Rapids studio.
Mr. Carlson is getting paid as donations from the project trickle in, according to the newspaper.
The work made its debut last year at ArtPrize, a competition that draws artists from around the world to Grand Rapids.
Some survivors of soldiers killed in the Middle East were moved by an early version of the piece, which was displayed outside the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum.
"One set of parents came back four or five times just to see and touch their son's name," Mr. Carlson said.
"I had no idea that sort of thing would happen while I was sculpting."
If completed, the sculpture will allow the memory of Michigan's fallen soldiers to live on, said Bob and Donna Roush of Middlesex, Mich.
Their 22-year-old son, Army Cpl. Nicholas Roush, died in 2009 in Afghanistan when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle.
"We all have the same fear," Ms. Roush said, "and it's that people are going to forget."
She and her husband saw Mr. Carlson's project during the ArtPrize competition and saw their son's name and the names of other soldiers on the sculpture.
"I just bent down and touched his name because all we have now to remember them by are memorials," Ms. Roush said.
A likely site for the finished product could be the Grand Valley National Guard Armory, although there are talks of installing the memorial in downtown Grand Rapids or at the Michigan Home for Veterans.