Sculpture honoring special duty K9s to be unveiled at FoCo dog park

Justine Lookenott
This picture was presented to the Board of Commissioners at their December 21, 2021, work session(Image by Susan Norris Artworks)

(Forsyth County, GA) Canines that have served in the U.S. Armed Forces and with First Responders will be honored with a bronze statue to be unveiled at Coal Mountain Dog Park during a public ceremony on Saturday, June 4.

The project was a partnership between the County and the Forsyth County Patriots Alliance. A portion of the SPLOST VIII funds for the Veteran’s Memorial in Cumming went to fund the sculpture.

“We were pleased to partner with local veterans to bring this monument to life and to recognize their service and sacrifice to our nation,” said Assistant County Manager Brandon Kenney.

On December 21, 2021, the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners approved the placement of the statue in the park.

Gary Ely, the senior vice commander for American Legion Post 307 and the president of the Forsyth County Patriots Alliance, spoke in support of the project at the meeting.

“In conjunction with all the veterans organizations in Forsyth County, this is something we think is going to be fitting for the veterans and the K9 force,” Ely said. “So on behalf of them I'd like to thank you for your consideration and hopefully you'll pass this.”

The Board unanimously voted in favor of the project.
The unveiling will be held at Coal Mountain Dog Park at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 4(Image by Forsyth County Government)

The Sculpture

Artist and sculptor Susan Norris was commissioned to make the statue.

Norris is the official artist for the Boy Scouts of America, living just outside of Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, New Mexico. One of her sculptures marks the entrance of the National Scouting Museum.

She has made several sculptures in honor of those who have served with the U.S. Armed Forces and with First Responders, both human and canine.

This newest statue, which the Forsyth County Patriots Alliance helped design, will also have a plaque that reads “In honor, appreciation and loving memory of those canines that bravely served with the U.S. Armed Forces and First Responders.”

The ceremony is open to the public and will be held at Coal Mountain Dog Park at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 4.

District 4 Commissioner Cindy Mills and Gary Ely will be speaking at the ceremony.

Susan Norris’ portfolio can be viewed on her website

If you have a news tip in Forsyth County, contact Justine Lookenott at

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I cover local news in Forsyth County, GA. My debut into the writing world began at the age of 10 when I won an essay contest in Around Acworth Magazine in which I wrote about spending the summer with my pet goat, Eclair. Since graduating from Kennesaw State University, I have been published in several newspapers and magazines in the Atlanta area including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Atlanta School Guide, What Now Atlanta, Newcomer Magazine, the Marietta Daily Journal and the Cherokee Tribune.

Forsyth County, GA

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