In Pierre, a group of volunteers is trying to get a project off the ground.
It involves all the men who have served as governor of South Dakota and finding a way to honor their contributions in a way that will allow all of us...and future generations...to learn about the leaders of our state.
Downtown Pierre is a busy part of the city with cars constantly driving by, right through the heart of town.
And standing by, watching it all unfold, is this sentinel in bronze: Governor Harlan Bushfield..the 16th governor of South Dakota.
A couple of blocks away, in the rotunda of the state capitol, another three men cast in bronze: former governors Bill Janklow, Harvey Wollman and Frank Farrar.
And this woman is part of the process that brought these statues into being. "These men have lived the history of being a south Dakota governor." Patty Miller is on the board of directors for a project called the "Trail of Governors".
The idea for it popped up during the Missouri River floods in 2011; an idea to cast bronze statues of every South Dakota governor as a way to keep their memories and contributions from slipping into the pages of history.
A way to keep these men from becoming only memories. "It's amazing how much history there is and what I've learned from this experience."
Each bronze statue costs nearly $68,000 but is paid through by private donations.
And this project has quickly gone from idea to reality....with a lot of support behind it.
"This is neat. its great." Laurie Gill is the mayor of the City of Pierre.
All the "Trail of Governors" statues will be placed around the Pierre community.
When she was approached and asked for her permission to place the statues, she said "yes" without really giving it much of a second thought. "We had a perfect opportunity to create something here that would be a destination for people."
And Gill says people have told her they have come to Pierre, and spent more time here, because they wanted to see these statues.
Which makes Patty Miller happy, but there is a part of this story that is personal for Patty.
She is a former first lady. And she has a special place in her heart for the statue placed at Highland and Capitol....the statue of Governor Walter Dale Miller...her husband. If you've ever wondered if a statue can put a lump in your throat, Patty will tell you...it can. "I drive by the statue every day when I come to the capitol to work. and I do."
The goal is to create three statues every year and place them out into the community.
And while all the action is taking place in Pierre....the intended impact goes well beyond city limits. "This is a South Dakota project and we want all South Dakotans to embrace it."
Next year, the Trail of Governors plans to unveil statues of former governors Mike Rounds and George S. Mickelson.
Thursday, February 20 2014 7:42 PM EST2014-02-21 00:42:09 GMT
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