Fundraising is under way for Will DuBois monument
How to donate
Contributions to the Pyro Memorial can be made online at http://www.pyromemorial.org/home.htmlor at any Alpine Bank. The name on the bank account is FBO Pyro Memorial.
Capt. Will “Pyro” DuBois was more than a fighter pilot.
Donna DuBois remembers, among other aspects, her son’s sense of humor and how he organized a rendition of “Robin Hood Men in Tights” in a talent show at Rifle High School.
“That described him perfectly,” she said.
However, it is DuBois’ service in the Air Force that friends of the family intend on honoring in the form of a memorial in New Castle’s Grand River Park. DuBois died Dec. 1, 2014, in Jordan after his F-16 crashed while on a mission against ISIS. That final flight was his 19th mission against ISIS since being deployed in October 2014 from Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina, according to an Air Force report released in July.
“This country lost a superstar,” said John Lee, a friend of the family. “Will was on his way to becoming anything he set his mind on.”
Lee and others are leading the effort to raise roughly $120,000 needed to pay for construction of the memorial. In addition to the space in the park, the town of New Castle also contributed $30,000 to the monument, which will consist of an approximately 8 foot tall bronze statue of DuBois in his fighter pilot suit.
John Kobald, a sculptor based in Meeker, is already working on the project, which will be dedicated Sept. 5. Kobald has multiple family members who served in the military and has been commissioned for other veteran memorials. However, he said this particular project is an honor.
“To be requested to do (a memorial) of (the DuBois’) son, who’s an American hero, a guy who could have chose to do anything … I’m so honored,” Kobald said.
For the DuBois family, the anniversary of their son’s death was “tough,” but this most recent effort is another example of the overwhelming support from the community, said William “Ham” DuBois, Will’s father.
“It’s been huge,” he said. “The outpouring of love and support from the community has meant everything to us. It’s been very comforting, it makes you feel proud to live where we live. We’ve had a lot of support throughout the country and throughout the world really — Will touched a lot of people throughout the world … but the local community has just been fantastic.”
Shortly after his death, New Castle officials set out to plan a memorial for the fallen soldier, but like many things in life, the idea for the project underway started over a beer, Lee said. Since then, others have joined the effort and together they formed a 501(c)(3) to raise money for the memorial. The website — http://www.pyromemorial.org/home.html — was recently launched, and brochures are being distributed at local businesses in the region.
“It’s been an effort of a lot of people and a lot of different thoughts thrown together,” Lee said.
Anyone who contributes $2,500 or more should contact Lee to receive a small replica of the memorial.
DuBois’ father said he hopes the memorial will remind people of the sacrifice members of the military, and their families, make.
“This has been an incredibly crushing blow to the family,” he said. “Here is this young man who was willing to go out and serve and fight for his country and what he believed in. And he ultimately paid the ultimate price.”
THE MEMORIAL AT RIFLE HIGH
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