Fort Hood memorial dedication set March 11

Last spring, sculptor Troy Kelly brought three of the bronzes to be featured in the Fort Hood November 5, 2009 Memorial to Cameron for an exhibit at the First Street Coffee Gallery. The individual bronzes represent each of the victims of the Fort Hood shooting. Visiting with Kelley was Jolene Cahill, widow of Michael Cahill, whose bronze was among those shown.

The 5 November, 2009 Fort Hood Memorial will be dedicated March 11 in special ceremonies hosted by the City of  Killeen and the memorial committee.
The dedication will be held at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center, 3601 S. WS Young Drive at 3 p.m. March 11.
Gov. Greg Abbott will attend the dedication and present the Texas Purple Heart. Among the other activities planned, the First Cavalry Band will perform and local American Legion member Donna Elliott will participate by releasing doves.
The memorial honoring the victims of the attack that took place at the Soldier Readiness Center at Fort Hood on Nov. 5, 2009 is located near the civic center.
On that day, 13 people were killed and 32 were wounded. The victims were mainly men and women who were preparing to deploy to battle zones or who had recently returned from them. Thanks to the heroic intervention of two Fort Hood police officers, the rampage was brought to an end.
Among the heroes that day, and the only civilian killed, was Michael Cahill of Cameron, who had worked for six years at Fort Hood as a physician’s assistant, helping soldiers deploying and returning from overseas.
In the aftermath of the tragic event, memorial services were held to pay tribute to those who had died or who had been injured. From that initial outpouring of emotion and out of the desire to honor and remember the victims of that tragic event came the concept of establishing a permanent public and living memorial.
According to a history of the development by Brian Vanicek, the idea for establishing a memorial garden was conceived by Harker Heights resident and SPJST employee Hiram Dixon.
The original idea was for simple gazebo and memorial garden to honor the victims and provide a historic record of the tragedy in order to deliver a message of vigilance for generations to come. During the first press conference to introduce the project to the community, Salado artist and sculptor Troy Kelly stepped up to the plate with his incredibly moving design for the memorial.
Working as partners with the City of Killeen, Killeen Civic and Conference Center Special Events Committee and and Killeen Volunteers, Inc., Vanicek said the SPJST was honored to spearhead efforts in the public and private sector to build the memorial.
Fund raising efforts commenced in December 2009 and included many presentations to fraternal organizations, civic organizations and veterans groups as well as the distribution of point-of-purchase cash jars.  SPJST hosted an online telethon at the Shilo Inn Ballroom from May 5 to May 7, 2011.
Throughout the spring and summer months of 2010, considerable efforts were made by a committee designated by Mayor Tim Hancock to determine the exact name, location, design and budget for the project. The Killeen City Council authorized the development of the Fort Hood November 5th, 2009 Memorial at a meeting on June 8, 2010. 
An unveiling ceremony of the project design was held on November 5, 2010 for the community and for the families of those who lost loved ones on November 5, 2009.
The project includes a memorial pavilion and garden located on the grounds of the Killeen Civic and Conference Center. Killeen area homebuilder Don Farek of Cameo Homes provided project oversight, taking the project from artist’s conception and working with engineers to develop completed structural plans.   Architect Marty Wall, of First Draft, Inc. and engineer Dennis Dyke, of Abacus Engineering, Inc. were responsible for rendering the building plans for the project.
The public is invited to attend the dedication March 11 and there are plans for a live-stream broadcast.