FroFrom Iwo Jima to Pilot Point
Pilot Point resident creates flagpole to honor Marines
Those with a patriotic spirit can view a tribute to the US Marines effort in Iwo Jima without leaving Pilot Point.
This spring, local resident Jim LeGrotte toiled in his workshop for “about 45-50 hours” to create a miniature model of the famous statue, with a goal to finish by Memorial Day, he said.
Fueled by materials from the Pilot Point Ace Hardware, LeGrotte completed the project by deadline and proudly posted his work in his yard.
“We believe in shopping locally,” he said.
As the Independence Day holiday arrives this weekend, many of LeGrotte’s neighbors have commented favorably on the famous silhouetted soldiers, in unison working to push up an American flag.
LeGrotte and his wife, Rosemary, have family members who have served in the armed forces, as well as local friends and neighbors.
“We’ve always supported the military,” he said. “I just had this wild notion … I looked it up and found the pattern. So I said ‘well, I’m going to do it.’”
LeGrotte is no stranger to working with plans and models. He graduated from Kansas State University with degrees in architecture and city planning.
The statue was created from a single 4’x8’ sheet of plywood.
“The most time for the project was spent sanding,” LeGrotte said.
“There are so many little pieces to it; you can’t use a power sander,” he said. “It had to be done by hand. I cut it out, sanded it, put two coats of varnish on it to seal it really good and two coats of black paint. It was a lot of work, but I did it all with the love I have for the men and women who’ve served our country.”
LeGrotte didn’t personally serve in the military, he said. His father died shortly after LeGrotte finished college.
“The day we buried my dad, I received my draft notice [to fight] in Korea,” he said.
He asked for a 30-day deferment on the draft, considering the unique circumstances.
“They said they couldn’t do that, but they’d put my name back in the hopper and if it’s called again, you go,” LeGrotte said. “They never called. I would have served. And many times, I’ve kicked myself for not serving.”
After college, LeGrotte opened a planning firm in Fort Worth and worked there for several years before working with the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development.
He and his wife have lived in Pilot Point for the past 25 years.
A couple of years ago, LeGrotte built a popular silhouette of a cowboy, which leans against a tree in the front yard.
The question has to be asked: what’s the next project for the LeGrotte yard?
“I think I’m probably through,” he said. “I take pride in my yard. I got my Western Texas piece. And now I have this one that I made to honor those who were and are in military service. I hope people appreciate it when they drive by.”