ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – “I really didn’t know what or why,” says Florida sculptor Gregory Marra, “I just followed my spirit.”

You see, even before North Texan and Navy SEAL Chris Kyle was killed at a gun range while trying to help a fellow veteran, Marra was already working on the statue that would one day honor him.

At the time, Marra was sculpting a “generic” statue for the Navy SEAL Foundation, when a phone call from Gene Sweeney, American Patriots in Art, changed everything.

“I said, ‘Greg: Chris Kyle was just killed. I didn’t have to say anything else.”

Soon, 18-hour-days in his studio turned the “generic” clay figure into a spot on, life-sized replica of Kyle—right down to his neatly trimmed beard and battered hat. Marra is donating his time to the project; but, says the statue is a gift to the Kyle family from a grateful nation.

“No one can bring Chris back. But, I hope that the statue brings a minute sense of healing to them.”
The Kyle family will ultimately determine where the statue is put on display—but, that won’t be for several months, says Tommy Ladd at Schaefer Art Bronze Casting, in Arlington. Ladd’s crew will cast the clay sculpture in bronze.

“I think it’s a great project,” says Ladd, “it’s going to be an exciting project to work on.”

Marra flew in from Florida today and was waiting anxiously with Ladd while the clay sculpture completed its 1200 mile road trip— getting a fanfare filled escort from the Patriot Guard for the final North Texas leg.

The artist plans to meet with the Kyle family before adding a few final details. “I hope they approve of what I’ve done,” says Marra. “My main concern is to come back 20 years from now and be able to say, ‘I did a good job.’

Supporters still need to raise roughly $85,000 to complete the project.

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