Gomer Statue Unveiled

By KBJR News 1

July 2, 2012 Updated Jul 2, 2012 at 1:57 PM CDT

After plenty of fundraising and then a delayed unveiling due to the flood, a northland war veteran and hero got the statue he's been waiting his whole life for.

As a member of the first ever group of black military airmen, Joe Gomer is a part of history. And Saturday, Duluth honored that history.

"Thank you for all the recognition and for the honor of representing the black army air corp. and all its participants," said Gomer.

Joe is one of only 64 living Tuskegee airmen. And the only one in Minnesota. So, local veterans realized, it was time to honor him.

"After we celebrated Joe's 90th birthday, we realized there was nothing permanent in the community to honor him."

That's where generous donations from the community, and artist Tim Cleary came in.

"I wanted it to be more than a portrait of a person, but a portrait of a conversation about what surrounds Joe. Civil rights, duty and honor," says Cleary.

And don't forget, spunk and humor.

"Oh they didn't do me justice,"Gomer laughs.

And with the unveiling of the bronze statue that will soon call the new Duluth terminal home, Gomer will forever be remembered for his service to his country and his community.

Gomer turned 92 last week, making this monument, the perfect birthday present.