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If you’ve ever attended, or even just browsed pictures, of Velocity or “The Night Out” at CommunityLIVE, tuned in for one of our webinars or gleaned insights from a Paperless Podcast episode, you’ve experienced the hard work of our Events Coordinator Amber Innis.

So it shouldn’t surprise you that hard work, dedication and creativity runs in her family. Just in time to celebrate Veteran’s Day and the decades of selfless service given by our country’s military, Amber’s son, Tyler Innis, has refreshed Veterans Park in downtown Highland, Michigan with a Fallen Soldiers Memorial.

After starting his fundraising campaign in early September, Tyler devoted over 200 hours to the design, preparation and installation work of his Eagle Scout project, which included four workdays. As reported in The Spinal Column, “The monument will include a plaque and four metal cutout figures, including one saluting soldier, another on one knee in prayer, a soldier’s cross, and a quote about the American flag from an unknown author. The names and dates of U.S. wars, from the American Revolution to Iraq, with the total number of lives lost in the conflicts will be etched into a bronze plaque.”

Raising over $3,500 to finance the entire memorial, Tyler gives huge thanks to the generous donations and support of Hammerle Metalworks, Simply Custom, Rick Goodspeed, Dick Davis, American Legion Post 216, the Highland Firefighters Association, ImageSoft, Ameritrust Realty, and many others who supported him throughout this process.

Photos courtesy of the Highland Downtown Development Authority

With his original vision now a permanent charm at Veterans’ Park, we caught up with Tyler to hear more about the process of bringing this tribute to life.

Q: Coming from a military family, you walked into this project with quite a bit of background on veterans and an understanding of their service. Did you learn anything new in your research, or have any humbling moments?

Tyler: I was surprised by the total number of wars the U.S. has engaged in, as well as the total number of casualties we have sustained over the years.

My humbling moment happened while I was still working at the park. I had a member of the community stop by to look at what was being built. After looking at the monument, he took a knee and said a prayer. I knew the impact I had hoped the project would have, but seeing that up close was truly more than I had expected.

Q: Did you chat with any Veterans throughout the course of your project and, if so, what was their reaction?

Photos courtesy of the Highland Downtown Development Authority

Tyler: When speaking with members of American Legion Post 216, they were excited and appreciative for what my plans had entailed. I later spoke with a member of the Highland VFW, who was very excited and wanted to help see my project to completion.

Then, while I was working at the park, I had a veteran slow down as he drove past and thank me for creating the monument. He told me how it had impacted him and shared that he had lost many of his friends while fighting in Iraq.

Q: You leveraged quite a few community resources to complete your project. What did you enjoy most about the process?

Tyler: Watching the steel being cut and being able to see my ideas really come to life as they were being installed was both fascinating and surreal to me.

Q: As people visit Veterans Park and your Fallen Soldiers Memorial, what is one takeaway you hope they have?

Photos courtesy of the Highland Downtown Development Authority

Tyler: I hope people can recognize the sacrifices the service men and women of our country have given for us and are able to bear reverence to those that have given everything for us.

Q: For those who maybe be too far to visit Veterans Park, what recommendations can you give for someone who still wants to participate in a meaningful Veteran’s Day activity?

Tyler: I would recommend getting in contact with local Veterans Associations to see what kind of events they are holding and how you can help.

Tyler’s story is just one example of why the ImageSoft family is so extremely proud of all our staff and the purposeful lives they lead outside of work. As we remember and thank all those who have and are still serving our country, we hope you’ll keep in mind this powerful sentiment, chosen by Tyler, to commemorate the symbolism of our great American flag:

Our flag does not fly because the wind moves it. It flies with the last breath of each soldier who died protecting it.” -Unknown.