Reporting Bree Sison
BOSTON (CBS)- A special piece of artwork was unveiled at the Fisher House Boston this Veterans Day weekend.
Integro, a 12-foot sculpture designed by a wounded Iraq War veteran, was dedicated at the house Saturday.
“Integro is a Latin word for ‘to begin anew,’” artist Bill Kleinedler explained to the crowd at the sculpture’s dedication. “All the wounded warriors come here [Fisher House] to start over.”
The Fisher House Foundation provides a place to stay for military families while their loved ones are in the hospital. Fisher House Boston is located in West Roxbury on the Veterans Administration Hospital grounds.
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Staff Sergeant Kleinedler was severely burned in 2006 after an IED exploded under his Humvee in Iraq. During his recovery, Kleinedler says he had to start over many times.
“I thought it was the end. I thought, at that instant, ‘this is it,’” Kleinedler said of the explosion. “But to take a change in life, and to work at it, is a beautiful thing.”
Using his personal experience from war, Kleinedler designed a sculpture with a granite base signifying the obstacles in one’s life. Growing around the granite are steel “roots” that wind together into a tree trunk above, showing how the human spirit overcomes obstacles. From the tree trunk grows steel and copper branches meant to symbolize moving forward. Adorning the branches are leaves to show the nourishment, or support, for a change. Fifty butterflies were added to demonstrate beauty in new beginnings.
The Integro scultpure was built with the help of 16 students from Worcester Technical High School, where the sculpture was constructed.
Three Congressional Medal of Honor recipients cut the ribbon at Integro’s unveiling. Colonel Harvey “Barney” Barnum Jr., Colonel Wesley Fox and Sgt. Robert O’Malley each earned the military’s highest honor for their service in Vietnam.