Boilermaker retiree and friend build soldier’s statue

L-237 retiree Rudy Diaz, right, and partner Danny Pardo stand before the statue they created for display in Cape Coral, Fla.

L-237’s Diaz pays tribute to U.S. military

THE SACRIFICES MADE by U.S. soldiers are not lost on Rudy Diaz, a retired member from Local 237 (Hartford, Conn.) now living in Cape Coral, Fla. A few years back, Diaz was inspired to honor those serving in the armed forces by designing and building a bronze statue.

Diaz’s concept would include an Iraq war-era American soldier and an Iraqi boy standing and saluting the American flag. The boy’s salute would symbolize his appreciation for the courage and service of the soldiers who fought to free his country from tyranny.

Diaz and a friend, Danny Pardo, a retired New York police lieutenant, constructed the framework for the statue from steel rods and Styrofoam™. They then added clay and shaped the features for the two figures. The Cape Coral Community Foundation helped raise money for the mold and casting.

“A couple whose son was serving in Iraq gave $10,000 toward the project,” Diaz recalled. He said that when the unveiling took place on May 31, 2010, he was expecting 50 to 100 people to show up. To his surprise, more than 1,000 attended, including an admiral and a woman who had witnessed the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Today the “Tribute to a Soldier” statue takes its place with other military memorials at Eco Park in Cape Coral.