Florida Sculptor Honors Memory of Fallen Kentucky Marine Comrade with Statue Presentation to Family

Statue Honors Fallen Marine 2013

Louisville, Kentucky; May 20, 2013: In a prelude to Memorial Day, Marines from the Louisville area gathered together to honor the memory of a fallen comrade, whose body was never recovered during the Vietnam War, through the formal presentation of a life size sculpted bust modeled from a boot camp photograph. For the past ten (10) years, Cliff Leonard, a Marine veteran from Jacksonville, Florida, who served with Louisville native LCpl Martin W. Prather in Vietnam, has been sculpting life-size busts of  Marines and Navy corpsmen from the Jacksonville, Florida area, who have been killed in either Iraq or Afghanistan during the Global War on Terror, as a tribute to their sacrifices. These life size busts are then presented either to families or to schools attended by the honorees. Mr. Leonard, who served alongside LCpl Prather at the time of his death on September 5, 1967, from small arms fire during a reconnaissance patrol honored his memory with the presentation of a dramatic sculpture to the Prather family at a special ceremony held at the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 1170 (Middletown).  Joining Mr. Leonard in this special presentation, in addition to many members of the Prather family, were  local military veterans of the Vietnam War, who were fortunate to have come home. Marine Corps League, Kentuckiana Detachment #729, which graciously hosted this unique ceremony, and the entire Marine Corps community welcomed Mr. Leonard to Louisville. Ceremonial posting of the colors was conducted by the Inspector and Instructor Staff, Company E, 4th Tank Battalion, 4th Marine Division, Fort Knox, Kentucky, while Joe Dodson, Marine veteran of the Vietnam War, provided appropriate bag pipe music during the ceremony. LCpl Prather's family was present to accept the sculpture, which was transported to Kentucky by Mr. Leonard and his wife Linda. The entire Prather family was embraced by the Marine Corps League, Kentuckiana Detachment #729, as its commandant (Bob Cross) and chaplain (Bill Gividen) played significant roles in the success of the event. Local media covered the event for television news reporting later the same evening. (Photograph depicting LCpl Prather’s surviving sister Kay Nelstead and Cliff Leonard taken by Ed Armento)