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Leo Russell Keene III

Leo Russell Keene III

Sulphur may incorporate old memorial into design of Keene tribute

Last Modified: Friday, April 05, 2013 7:42 PM

By Natalie Stewart / American Press

The city of Sulphur is searching for a World War Memorial that was previously displayed in the Maplewood area that can be incorporated into the Leo Russell Keene III Memorial design, according to Mayor Chris Duncan.

Duncan said the city is still in the design phase of the memorial and would like to include the earlier memorial, along with others in the city.

“We were told that many, many years ago, across from Maplewood School where Center Circle is, there was a World War Memorial that was around a white picket fence,” he said. “We are trying to find that memorial so that we can incorporate it into the design, but all we’ve been able to find so far are a few people that say they remember it.”

The City Council unanimously approved the establishment of a memorial fund in November 2012 to raise money to erect a memorial in The Grove — the $1.2 million Heritage Square expansion — to honor Keene, who was a Sulphur native who died in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Keene died when the south tower of the World Trade Center collapsed. He helped two women escape through the bottom of an elevator, but he and 14 others didn’t make it out of the elevator before the collapse.

Keene, 33, was a financial analyst for Keefe, Bruyette and Woods for two years on the 88th and 89th floors of the south tower.

Duncan said the city is also incorporating the Vietnam and Korean War memorials, which are in front of the old City Hall, into the design.

“A lot of people have contacted us showing interest in the memorial, but a lot of the interest isn’t only for the Russell Keene Memorial but for the Vietnam and Korean War memorials, too,” he said. “A lot of people were unaware that those memorials are there, and we want to move them all to one place.”

Duncan said once the design is complete, the city will go out for bid.

The original plan to have the memorial completed by the Sept. 7 car show has been altered because the design process has taken longer than expected, he said. The design will be unveiled at the annual Stars & Stripes Car Show.

Duncan said he is meeting with the Community Foundation of Southwest Louisiana to see how much has been raised for the memorial.

Donations for the memorial can be made at the Community Foundation, 120 Pujo St., Suite 120, or at City Hall, 101 N. Huntington St. in Sulphur.

For more information, call City Hall at 527-4500.

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