CAIRO — Count Michelle Dean among those who has seen enough rain in the past couple of months.

The owner of Pope’s Museum, which is located north of Cairo, had hoped that restoration of the Gold Star Mother memorial would be complete by now. But the rain, which has seemingly fallen every day for the past two months, has pretty much stopped work.

“We are taking one step forward and two steps backward,” Dean said.

The Gold Star Mother statue was sculpted by Laura Pope Forester to honor women who lost children who were in the US Armed Forces.

Dean, who is also the executive director of the Popes Museum Preservation Inc., received sponsorship from the Veterans of Foreign Wars Department of Georgia and Humana of Georgia to cover about 80% of the estimated $10,000 needed to complete the work. The remaining 20% will need to come from future donations.

The memorial originally included a life-sized statue of a grieving mother near a koi pond and a water fountain. But the statue was removed sometime between 2015, when Charles Bowen of Georgia Backroads Magazine took a photo of the memorial, and 2017, when Dean and her husband, Dan, purchased the property.

Dean hopes the person who removed it will return it. But in the meantime, students of Richard Curtis, an art professor at Thomas University and a member of the Popes Museum Preservation board, are making a replica.

“We would love to get the original back, but we have no idea where it is,” Dean said.

GM Land & Dirt Services (Tim Moore) and At Ease Tree Service (Jon Bozeman) are doing work on the memorial. They are veterans, so they are passionate about this project, too, Dean said.

Once work is complete on the Gold Star Mother memorial, Dean said the museum will build a memorial to veterans of the Korean and Vietnam wars and the next two generations of vets. That work will require about $7,000.

Restoration of the memorials to World War II and a Red Cross nurse have been completed. 

Kevin Price can be reached at 229-226-2400, ext. 1820

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