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FAMILIES CAN BE TOGETHER FOREVER

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On Tuesday, Robert Jaramillo spied these two men preparing the base for the statue. The next day, they drilled big holes. And then. . . the wait was on.

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This morning, the statue arrived! On the left is the artist, Dennis Smith of Alpine, and his wife Veloy. They are talking with John Emory, the project manager for Jacobsen.

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The statue is bronze and was finished only in the last week or so.

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My first thought when I saw the family was that they were bundled up for the cold weather.

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But no, these were straps to lift and move the statue.

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I had my gloves on, so I didn't mind waiting.

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In no time, the statue was in the air.

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Posts were affixed to the base.

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Brother Smith is on the right, photographing their efforts.

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They were being extremely careful.

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No one wanted to make a mistake at this point.

Easy does it.

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Easy does it.

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This part took a few minutes, but finally it was in place!

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And then the lift operator raised it. Uh oh, I thought.

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Our friend Rob Jaramillo was with me at this point. We wondered what was happening.

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We saw people at the east gate, so we walked over there while the statue just hung in the air.

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Only then did we see these men mixing expandable concrete. Typically, concrete shrinks when it hardens.

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This concrete is special and does just the opposite.

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I was very pleased to meet him and his wife Veloy.

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Their granddaughter's family members were the models for the statue. Meet Kinley, Ellie and Conrad Beckstrand. Kinley was a toddler when her great-grandfather began the sculpture.

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Somewhere in that timeline, Gunnar joined their family.

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The Smith's daughter Rachel LaComb was also at the site this morning. Granddaughter Aly was inside the fence. Granddaughter Anna missed a little school for this wonderful event.

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In the 1970s, Brother Smith was the artist for this and other statues in Nauvoo. Copies are also at the Spain and Seattle Temples. Our Provo City Center Temple statue is a newer version.

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The placing of the statue was the last thing on my unofficial punch list.