Gold Star father and Vietnam veteran donates statue to National Museum of The Marine Corps

Virginia

"It was John's way of giving another gift to this country. One was his son, Chance Phelps, and now this monument that will live forever."

TRIANGLE, Va. (WDVM) — In 2004, freelance photographer Lucian Reed photographed two Marines as they carried a bloodied third out of a building. The photo, called “Hell House,” was a shocking snapshot into what it meant to be a Marine in the Middle East.

Nine years later, the image took on another life: in bronze. Nonprofit Hope for the Warriors, founded and organized by military spouses, commissioned a sculpture from artist and Vietnam veteran John Phelps. After a lot of research, Phelps got Reed’s permission to use his image for the sculpture.

Called “No Man Left Behind,” two of Phelps’ sculptures are at Camp Lejeune and Camp Pendleton. On Wednesday, Phelps and Hope for the Warriors donated a miniature version to the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation.

“It’s been my pleasure and a project that was done from the heart,” said Phelps, whose son, a Marine, was killed in action in 2004.

“It was John’s way of giving another gift to this country. One was his son, Chance Phelps, and now this monument that will live forever; both for Hope for the Warriors and John Phelps,” said Robin Kelleher, president and CEO of Hope for the Warriors.

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