Ten Aprils ago, viewing Harry Caray's bronze statue in front of Wrigley Field, a deep impression heaped upon me. One day it should be fitting and proper that a statue of Bob Chase in front of Allen County's War Memorial Coliseum would greet citizens attending sporting events or graduations.
Bob (Robert Wallenstein) served as the Fort Wayne Komets' broadcaster on WOWO for 63 seasons. He also served his country four years in the United States Navy. Chase was an on/off air personality, championing innumerable charitable causes. One may argue he was the de facto ambassador of goodwill for Northeast Indiana.
Looking upon the depiction of Chicago's iconic (now silent) voice that cold and blustery day, I envisioned similarly a family pausing to reflect on the measure of the man who brought such enthusiasm for life right here in Fort Wayne and its surrounding communities. Children gazing beatifically to a monument of someone to be studied and revered.
So, how do we as a community bring this idea to fruition? First, I entreat the Allen County commissioners, board members Bloom, Brown and Peters, to consider allocating space (preferably at the coliseum's east entrance) for the project. Second, the forming of a project exploration committee would be necessary to commission the work. Fort Wayne possesses a wealth of artistic talent. Perhaps a local sculptor would avail.
Yes, the room's pachyderm is how would the statue be funded? Why, by all of us of course! I call on local business giants Sweetwater Sound, Steel Dynamics, Inc., WOWO and its parent Pathfinder and health hegemons Lutheran and Parkview to step up. And small donations through an entity such as GoFundMe would allow for all citizens to participate.
Fort Wayne has a treasured history for memorial statues. From the Equestrian General Wayne to the mighty Miami Chieftain Mishikiniqwa (Little Turtle). Later in the city's lore, memorials to General Lawton and Colonel Foster would come to occupy ground (and in Foster's case 1982's floodwaters).
Another Fort Wayne memorial is Paul Manship's 1932 bronze Abraham Lincoln: The Hoosier Youth. What better barrister to prosecute my case for a statue of Bob Chase.
As he spoke that November day in 1863 on hallowed ground at Gettysburg, Mr. Lincoln might yet again utter those monumental words, “It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.”
Together, let us do this!