YOUNGSTOWN, N.Y. — An important milestone has been reached in the years-long effort to erect a sculpture of Medal of Honor recipient Charles DeGlopper at the Grand Island park that bears his name.
It has now journeyed more than half way across the country before its eventual return and scheduled unveiling on the anniversary of D-Day this June.
Youngstown Sculptor Susan Geissler was commissioned for the work in 2018 when the funding was finally amassed to create the likeness of DeGlopper, who was awarded the nation's highest military honor for heroism and sacrifice of life, three days into the battle of Normandy in World War II.
The clay sculpture she created was recently delivered to a foundry in Colorado to be cast into molds and eventually into bronze.
Her biggest challenge, it turned out, was due to the fact that besides being a larger-than-life hero, DeGlopper was also quite a large man, standing 6 feet, 7 inches tall.
"He was so tall that I lost my confidence a bunch of times because I kept thinking, is this right?" Geissler said.
"I would stand next to the sculpture, and I would look at photo of him I had standing next to a woman that was my height ... and it was right. But it kept challenging me because I wasn't used to looking at such a tall figure all of the time."
Another challenge presented itself when her husband, Peter, prepared to drive her creation to Colorado.
"Not only wasn't it going to fit into the truck, but it also wasn't going to fit out of the door of our studio. So I had to cut him in half," she explained with a laugh.
To learn more about how she was able to make the sculpture come to life, click on the video player to watch our story from reporter Dave McKinley and photojournalist Dooley O'Rourke.