To honor those lost in the Iraq-Afghanistan wars, non-profit organization Honor361 is raising money for a monument that will feature a bronze statue of a fallen soldier and his service dog.
Honor361 President and Veteran Gilbert Ramon said the organization wanted to have something that people in the community would want to go visit.
"We wanted to dedicate it to soldiers and also wanted to include service dogs, whether they served in war or as therapeutic to the soldiers after their service," Ramon said.
Honor 361 is based in the city of Victoria, but the monument will have names of local soldiers in the South Texas area who lost their lives in the war. The artist of the statue is Armando Hinojosa.
The model for the bronze statue was a picture of Colton Rusk, from Orange Grove, who lost his life in 2010 while serving in Afghanistan.
In the picture, Rusk is kneeling with his service dog Eli.
"I became close with Colton's family since they would attend events here in Victoria and decided I wanted to use Eli for the model," Ramon said. "When I saw the photo of him with Eli, in that famous pose, it just made sense."
The monument with the statue will cost approximately $500,000 and Honor361 is making every effort to raise funds to make it a reality.
"It means everything to me," Ramon said. "I've had friends I've lost in war and it's a bond and connection you have with other soldiers. This has been the longest war and we want to honor them."
Bowden Ford of Alice, located at 2265 Main St., will be assisting the organization with funds by donating $25 for each test drive and $100 for every purchase from Sept. 21 through Sept. 26. Registration for a chance to win a $250 gift card will also be available for customers.
Fundraiser coordinator Carrie Del Alamo said the dealership was more than willing to help Honor361 with a fundraiser.
"It hits close to home," Del Alamo said. "We feel it's important to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice and we want to remind people that the war is still going on."
"We're not asking for money from anyone. We just invite people to come out and come support those who have served and help us raise money."