SARASOTA/BRADENTON, FL – In 2014, The Patterson Foundation dedicated Patriot Plaza at Sarasota National Cemetery. Patriot Plaza was given as a gift, in a first-ever of its kind collaboration, to the Department of Veterans Affairs and our nation as a whole. The mission of Patriot Plaza is simple: to provide a place to remember and reflect – one that honors veterans, inspires patriotism, and embraces freedom.
Now, through strategic gifts of art that had previously stood within the “Testimonies” art installation at Patriot Plaza, The Patterson Foundation hopes to share that mission with community members throughout the region. Goodwill Manasota is one of the beneficiaries of this effort: its veterans services office has received a piece of artwork entitled “Integrity,” featuring a replica of the famous photo of the American flag raising at Iwo Jima.
Goodwill hosted a private unveiling event on May 25; members of the community are now welcome to visit, enjoy, and honor the bravery and legacy of service of our country’s veterans.
One of the features of the “Testimonies” art is a thick piece of laminated glass imprinted with a photographic image. Over time, a few of the “Testimonies” pieces needed to be replaced; out of an abundance of caution, the manufacturer replaced all of the laminated glass pieces. However, several were still in pristine condition and these are the ones being gifted to select area organizations.
The Patterson Foundation team reached out to local organizations and entities in an effort to find appropriate homes for these pieces. To be eligible, recipients needed to meet two criteria: provide a valuable service to our community and have a program that, in a meaningful way, honors veterans. Additionally, the display would be mounted in a place accessible to the general public.
“The Patterson Foundation designed, built, and donated Patriot Plaza to Sarasota National Cemetery to honor veterans who are serving, have served, or may serve in the future, along with the sacrifices made by their loved ones before, during, and after their military careers,” said Debra Jacobs, president and CEO of The Patterson Foundation. “The Patterson Foundation aspires to help a wider audience connect with Patriot Plaza’s stories of service and sacrifice by sharing these meaningful and powerful pieces of art with organizations throughout the community – particularly those that are working to strengthen our veterans and military families.”
The display cases in which these pieces will now be showcased were designed by Fawley-Bryant Architects and constructed by Key Glass; Goodwill Manasota was gifted the refurbished piece at no charge.
Designed by artist Larry Kirkland, “Testimonies” features Georgia white marble tablets, each with a window of thick glass imprinted with a photographic image. The stone includes an engraved drawing and text, reflecting the personal voices of those who have served, supported, and sacrificed in military life. The combination of words and images convey realities of service and military life that transcend time and generations.
“We are here to honor those who served us and helped guarantee our freedoms. The flag raising on Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima is one of the most iconic military photos of all time,” said Todd Hughes, Goodwill’s veterans services program manager. “For us to be chosen to display this piece of artwork because of what we do for veterans in our community is humbling and a great honor. The fact that we were able to have the unveiling coincide with Memorial Day makes it even more meaningful.”
For more about Goodwill, visit experiencegoodwill.org. To learn more about Patriot Plaza, visit thepattersonfoundation.org/patriot-plaza.
About Goodwill Manasota
Goodwill Manasota is an industry-leading 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that changes lives through the power of work. With philanthropic donations and revenue generated by the sales of donated goods, Goodwill is able to assist people with disabilities, veterans, seniors, and those with other barriers to employment by providing jobs, job skills training, and free career services. For more information or for a listing of locations, visit www.experiencegoodwill.org or call 941-355-2721.
About The Patterson Foundation
The Patterson Foundation strengthens the efforts of people, organizations and communities. The Foundation focuses on issues that address common aspirations and foster wide participation, along with ways organizations learn and share as they evolve. For more information, please visit thepattersonfoundation.org and connect with @ThePattersonFdn on Twitter.