|From ABC KOHD News kohd.com
PFC Thomas Tucker Memorial Goes Up in Madras
August 21, 2009
By Doug Johnson
A bitter sweet day for family and friends of army private first class Thomas tucker, as a statue of him is placed in a park on the corner of 4th and e streets in madras.
"It's wonderful, I think it's beautiful," says Meg Tucker, mother of the fallen soldier.
"It's an honor to have Tommy standing here, we're just so proud of him," says Wes Tucker, the hero's father.
The idea for the memorial started with his class mates, who fund raised for over three years, selling everything from t-shirts to American flag pins. After a ten thousand dollar donation by a Madras business Friday morning, Tucker's friends have raised around ninety thousand dollars.
"We did fairs, and Saturday market, kids that would come and put their pocket change in our jar," says Lyndsay Hessel, a friend and classmate of Tucker.
Twenty-five-year-old Private First Class Tucker was killed June 16th 2006, after he and another soldier were kidnapped and tortured by insurgents allegedly with Al-Qaeda in Iraq.
"It's tough, you know, but we'll make it through," Meg Tucker says.
Late last year an Iraqi militant was convicted for killing Tucker, and was sentenced to death.
Nationally known sculptor Rip Caswell, of Troutdale Oregon, came up with the design for the memorial. When finished, Tucker will be reaching up, arms open, to a scared Iraqi girl. Tucker's friends say the design does justice to his spirit.
"Tom loved children, and had the most caring heart, and so it was only a perfect fit," Hessel says.
Wes says that one of the things he likes most about the memorial, is that it allows him to see his son's face once again.
"It was hard when I first saw it, to see tommy standing there again, it feels good," says Wes Tucker.