Stolen Bronze Statue Replaced; Charity Doubles Up on Security

Maureen Wurtz

COUNCIL BLUFFS (KPTM)-When bronze is melted down, it goes for about four dollars apound.

When a bronze statue was stolen at Children's Square U.S.A. in Council Bluffs, charity workers knew thatsomeone had stolen something priceless.

"It didn't even dawn on us that someone would come in andsteal the statue," said Mike Barker.

The 'Jason' sculpture was created after a photo was taken ofa boy named Jason was playing in Children's Square in the 1980s. Since then, ithas become an icon and symbol for the charity. The statue is even recreated in miniatureand handed out during Children's Square's annual fundraiser.

The original Jason sculpture had been near the welcomecenter since 1991. It was stolen in November 2011, and all that was left wasthe foot.

"Every day I come to work, you look where that Jason statuewas, but it's kind of a sense of loss," said Barker.

When the statue was stolen, Barker and his team turned tothe original sculptor-Tom Palmerton. Palmerton had retired, and no longer had the mold of the sculpture.

Barker said even the kids fought to help bring Jason back."They put together missing posters for Jason-saying we miss our Jason-comeback."

Tom's son, Mark, took up his father's tools, and tackled thetask of recreating Jason. "It was very sad," said Palmerton.

Palmerton said he had to recreate the mold using the smallversion of the statue. "We put clay on it," said Palmerton. "We wanted to makeit look as much as possible like my dads."

It took Palmerton six months to recreate the new statue; anamount of time Barker said he'd wait. "I think once that statue gets up we'llfeel more whole again, more complete."

Barker said they've increased security, including adding lightsand cameras, around the area. He said they plan to put Jason back up in thegarden this summer.

Barker said the stood for happiness and youth-and that hecan't wait to see it stand again.

So far, Barkersaid they've raised $4,000 to help cover the cost. If you'd like to help outChildren's Square, click here.