Businessmen form partnership to bring sculpture to Suncoast

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MANATEE COUNTY-- As we told you earlier this month, Kevin Henault, the owner of Veteran Air Conditioning, is attempting to bring Felix de Weldon's original Iwo Jima Memorial Sculpture to the Suncoast. This, after the Sarasota Public Art Fund decided to end it's campaign to bring the statue to Sarasota's bayfront. Now, Henault has formed a non-profit to raise the funds and bring the monument to this area.

"Bringing it to the Suncoast is a great opportunity. It's a great opportunity for us to do this and be able to share it with everyone that lives here, including the veterans and their families," said Henault, who is an Army veteran himself.

Henault is joined by three other local businessmen who form the non-profit's board of directors. The board includes, Gregg Anderson from Digital Image Business Solutions, Hugh Shields from Gold Coast Eagle Distributing, and Robert Moffa from American Ideals Foundation.

"I have become more excited about this program as I learned more about the monument, its history, and what this really meant to our country and the success of the United States and World War II," said Anderson.

Sometime in the next couple of weeks, the organization will have the statue appraised. The owner, in New York, says the sculpture is valued at $1.245 million.

"As long as it comes in range, we are going to get the letter of intent signed and then raise the funds and bring the monument here," said Henault.

As to where here is, that remains unclear. Our viewers have suggested locations such as, Sarasota National Cemetery, Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport, Sarasota's bayfront, and the Bradenton Riverwalk.