Unveiling of the Legacy Testimony at Tidewell Hospice, generously funded by The Patterson Foundation. March 2022.

Patriot Plaza Extends Its Reach Into the Community

Posted on April 15, 2022 by Scott Lempe, consultant with The Patterson Foundation
In 2014, The Patterson Foundation dedicated Patriot Plaza to Sarasota National Cemetery. Patriot Plaza was given as a gift, in a first-ever of its kind collaboration, to the Department of Veteran’s Affairs and our nation as a whole.

The mission of Patriot Plaza is simple: To provide a place to remember and reflect that honors veterans, inspires patriotism, and embraces freedom. Recognizing the power of art as a way to tell a story, several pieces play a prominent role in providing meaningful experiences. One piece of art is known as Testimonies. Testimonies tells stories of life in the military and life as a military family. Larry Kirkland, the artist responsible for Testimonies, thinks of his work as an extension of the untold stories indicated by the headstones across the road.

One of the Testimonies art features is a thick piece of laminated glass imprinted with a photographic image. Over time, a few pieces needed to be replaced. Out of an abundance of caution, the manufacturer replaced all the laminated glass pieces. However, several were still in pristine condition. Our question was, what do we do this these pieces while staying true to the mission of Patriot Plaza?

The Patterson Foundation team reached out to local organizations and entities to find appropriate homes. To be eligible, the recipient needed to meet two criteria: provide a valuable service to our community and have a program that, in a meaningful way, honors veterans.

With those criteria in mind, TPF has identified several recipients excited to be part of this project. At the front of the line were Tidewell Hospice and the Tidewell Foundation. The Tidewell team worked with Fawley-Bryant Architects and Key Glass to design an incredible display case of their art pieces and then agreed to make the design available to future recipients of Patriot Plaza’s art at no cost.

The foundation dedicated the first piece at Tidewell on January 23, 2020, and the second on March 24, 2022. These dedications strengthened the already strong bond between TPF and the Tidewell team. Today, we are working with additional recipients to duplicate these magnificent displays throughout our region.

There are at least two significant takeaways as I reflect on this project. First, as a result of these incredible collaborations, we can expand the reach of Patriot Plaza and its mission to new segments of our community and new audiences. The voices of our veterans and their families echo through our community. Second, I’ve been overwhelmed by the services available to our veterans and their families and the extent to which our community values, respects, and supports those who have served. I wake up proud to live in Sarasota County and proud to be associated with The Patterson Foundation.

Leave a comment

You are commenting as guest.