Bradenton man wants to raise funds for Iwo Jima monument - WFLA News Channel 8

Bradenton man wants to raise funds for Iwo Jima monument

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Raising the Second Flag on Iwo Jima, by Joe Rosenthal. File copy. Raising the Second Flag on Iwo Jima, by Joe Rosenthal. File copy.
SARASOTA COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

It looks like all hope is not lost for an Iwo Jima monument in Sarasota.

Earlier this week we reported about a Sarasota man who stopped his bid to bring the original sculpture to the bayfront.

RELATED CONTENT: http://www.wfla.com/story/22746827/plans-to-bring-iwo-jima-monument-to-sarasota-scrapped

Now a Bradenton man is picking up the slack.

It's a historic piece of American history that's having a hard time finding a home.

Sculptor Felix de Weldon built a sculpture after seeing the iconic photograph taken on Mount Suribachi in 1945.

The original Iwo Jima monument was displayed in Washington but later put into storage when a larger monument was placed in Arlington National Cemetery.

Since then, it's been all but forgotten.  It spent decades in storage.  This past February it failed to find a buyer at an auction.  And this week, a Sarasota man stopped his effort to bring it to the Bayfront. 

So now, Kevin Henault is giving it a try.

"I don't know, I just feel like this has to happen," said Henault.

Henault is a Bradenton businessman and an army veteran.  He spent time as an Army Medic during Operation Iraqi Freedom.  He's now leading the charge to raise money for the monument.

"I didn't want to let it die. I think that statue needs to be here on the Suncoast," said Henault.

His plan is to raise nearly $2 million by December 2014.  And he's open to placing the monument anywhere in Sarasota or Manatee County.  He's already in talks with local leaders to gauge their interest.

"I don't want to get involved with the politics of exactly where it's gonna go here in Sarasota, Manatee counties. I just want it here in Sarasota Manatee County," he said.

As a veteran, this endeavor is almost personal.

"It's just a piece of history, and if I can be a part of that and give to the veteran community that have given their lives, given their limbs, families of veterans that have lost loved ones, it's a little something that I could do," he said.

And Henault won't stop until he finally gives this statue a home.

"If I have to go drive the truck myself and get it here, I'd be happy to do that," he said.

Henault is currently working with local nonprofits to start collecting donations.

The raised funds will go towards purchasing the monument, and maintenance once it's finally installed.  

For more information, contact Henault at Kevin@veteranac.com

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