Grand Canyon hike to fund newest Trooper memorial
On the week dedicated to commemorating the independence and freedom of America, the week of July 4 Independence Day, the Kentucky State Police launched a fundraising effort to build a memorial that will honor all KSP troopers who currently serve and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice with their lives.
‘The Trooper Project’ is sponsored by the Kentucky State Police Citizen’s Academy Alumni Association (CAAA) and will include a seven-and-a-half foot tall bronze statue of a trooper that will be centrally located at the new KSP Training Academy in Frankfort, Ky. KSP is partnering with the CAAA to raise funds to build the memorial, as tax dollars will not be used to support this effort.
KSP Commissioner Rodney Brewer advised agency employees of the project through a newsletter and made the first challenge to raise funds by sharing his ‘Honor Hike’ event. Brewer, along with Lt. Col. Jack Miniard, will hike the Grand Canyon from rim to rim asking supporters to donate one dollar to ‘The Trooper Project’ for their effort.
Brewer and Miniard are incurring all expenses associated with the trip and donating their vacation time for the ‘Honor Hike’ fundraiser.
Brewer says the concept behind the hike is larger than the trek across the Grand Canyon and hopes that it will generate interest in ‘The Trooper Project.’
“The statue is all about those who have made the ultimate sacrifice by giving their lives in the line of duty,” says Brewer. “It’s also about all the troopers who have served since 1948 and made tremendous sacrifices on a daily basis to protect the citizens of the Commonwealth.”
KSP records indicate that the agency has lost 27 officers to line-of-duty deaths since its inception.
The Honor Hike event will take place August 22-24, 2014 and the troopers’ progress will be updated via social media throughout the 25-mile hike. This event is just one of several agency personnel and the CAAA will host to raise funds for ‘The Trooper Project.’
KSP spokesman Sgt. Michael Webb says that social media will also play an intricate part in promoting ‘The Trooper Project.’
“We are fortunate to have many active followers on our social media platforms,” says Webb. “Through these venues we are able to reach thousands of people who may have an interest in supporting this worthy project. When you multiply those numbers by a one-dollar contribution, the results could be substantial.”
‘The Trooper Project’ has enlisted the services of acclaimed sculptor, Benjamin Victor. His impressive and detailed works are displayed with pride across the U.S. and the world. The 35-year-old Victor is the only living sculptor to have two statues in the U.S. Capitol.
The agency has already received a pledge of support from the Kentucky State Police Professional Association and interest from several private corporations across the Commonwealth.
For more information about ‘The Trooper Project’ and scheduled fundraisers, visit the website at www.thetrooperproject.com. Contributions can be made through the The Trooper Project website or by mailing a donation to: The Trooper Project, 919 Versailles Road, Frankfort, Ky. 40601.
The proposed new tribute to the fallen KSP officers in Frankfort will not be the first or only memorial to those who have been killed in the line of duty.
Clinton County is currently the home of two memorials that have been erected to honor the fallen officers, both of which are at Trooper Island Camp in the south-western corner of the county on Dale Hollow Lake.
The original monument, built in the early 1970s, is situated on the west side of Trooper Island and contains the names of each of the fallen officers, along with the corresponding date the officer was killed.
That bronze plaque appears just below an “old style” bubble gum blue light that is illuminated on a 24 hour/365 day schedule and is often used as a reference point for boaters on the lake, especially at night or during stormy weather.
More recently, on the north end of Trooper Island Camp, a newer monument was constructed out of brick and marble and contains laser etched likeness plaques of each officer who has been killed in the line of duty.
The new memorial area also features a new style light bar that is also illuminated around the clock and an eternal flame burns in a tornado fashion on the front side of the feature.
Both memorials were built through private donations that did not include funds donated to operate Trooper Island Camp.
Most recently, KSP Commissioner Brewer stood near the newest memorial at Trooper Island and made his annual address to those attending the pre-camp season kick-off event, Trooper Island Appreciation Day.
The 2014 Trooper Island Camping season that concludes with this week’s group of young girl and boy campers, will be the 50th camping season at the Clinton County facility since the Kentucky State Police founded the camp and held the first camping season in 1965.
The following is a message from KSP Commissioner Rodney Brewer about his planned fund-raising “Honor Hike”.
“I first visited the Grand Canyon when I was about eight years old. Although our journey that summer to California was eerily similar to a Griswold family vacation, it provided much laughter and memories in the years that followed. Of all the sights that trip generated, none is more vivid in my mind than my first glimpse at the Grand Canyon from the South Rim. Even as a little boy, this world wonder left me spellbound and amazed. Although our trip was short because we had to get back on the road, (note Griswold likeness!) I remember gazing at the trails and river below through one of those telescopes that cost you a hard earned quarter. Climbing into my Dad’s old Cadillac, I daydreamed about what it was like at the bottom of this incredible spectacle.
“I have visited the Grand Canyon several times since that day and its beauty and grandeur continues to be magical. Created by millions of years of erosion, this mystical work of nature contains thirteen different ecosystems below the rim level. As the crow flies, it is over a mile down before reaching the Colorado River, equating to many miles when hiking the main trails. Of the five million people who visit the Grand Canyon each year, less than three percent ever venture below the lookouts on the rim.
“Several months ago, Lieutenant Colonel Jack Miniard and I began formalizing a plan to hike the Grand Canyon from rim to rim. Fascinated by the concept, we began a training regiment to check this childhood dream off of our bucket list. We decided early on that we would ‘hike for a cause.’ A few weeks ago we decided that our journey would be dedicated to those individuals in our agency that had given their life in the line of duty. Both of us will be carrying the photos and names of each trooper/officer who died defending the citizens of the Commonwealth when we embark in late August.
“As you are aware, we are currently involved in a major fundraising effort for a 7 1/2 foot bronze sculpture of a trooper that will occupy a prominent place in our new academy courtyard. Handcrafted by world renowned sculptor Benjamin Victor, it will represent all who have fallen in the line of duty as well as those who have faithfully served under the Kentucky State Police flag since our inception. It will be a stunning piece of art that will represent the sacrifice, courage, and integrity that our agency was founded upon. The total cost of this project will be funded through private donations and fundraisers without the benefit of tax dollars. This is where I need your help and support.
“Although the entire cost of the “Honor Hike” trip will be borne by us, we are asking supporters of our agency to donate one dollar for our fundraising efforts to help pay for this bronze sculpture. The entire trip will encompass nearly twenty-five miles of rugged terrain before completion. I suppose our trip will be representative of many things that we hold sacred in our agency psyche: preparation, struggle, perseverance, determination, victory and sacrifice.
“The Kentucky State Police has been very blessed with strong community support since our inception in 1948. Would you help make this project a reality by taking the time to donate a dollar? Would you tell three of your friends about our efforts? Progress regarding our trip will be updated on our website and agency Facebook page. Checks can be made payable “The Trooper Project” and sent to:
The Trooper Project
919 Versailles Road
Frankfort, Kentucky. 40601
“For additional information about the bronze sculpture and photographs of our upcoming trip, visit TheTrooperProject.com and click on the attached YouTube link. All contributions are tax deductible and donations can also be made through PayPal. Thanks in advance for your ongoing support of the men and women who make up the Kentucky State Police—past, present and future.”
Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rodney Brewer recently spoke to those attending the Trooper Island Camp Appreciation Day at the camp facility in south west Clinton County on Dale Hollow Lake. Brewer’s comments were made from the back side of a newly constructed fallen officer memorial that has been built through private efforts on the north end of the camp facility.
Brewer is embarking on a fundraising effort that he hopes will enable the agency to purchase a new statute to be placed at the new KSP training academy in Frankfort, honoring troopers who have been killed in the line of duty.