Shriner carries a child.

Shriner Statue - Silent Messenger

Field review by the editors.

Louisville, Kentucky

On the large lawn of the Bellwood Presbyterian Center, there's a brightly painted statue of a larger-than life shiner wearing a fez and bolero jacket. "Silent Messenger" carries a crutch in one hand, and in the other, a little girl in leg braces.

The sculpture was inspired by an iconic 1970 photo, taken by Randy Dieter, of shriner Albert Hortman carrying little Bobbi Jo Wright. It has been rendered in many forms to represent the Shriners Hospitals for Children.

Copies of this statue stand in dozens of locations, sometimes finished to look like bronze, copper, or gold. In this particular version, the little girl's face looks prematurely aged (photos of the real Bobbi Jo, 40 years later, look younger). Hortman died in 2009.

The Louisville statue is a nod to contributions for medical care and research by Kosair Charities, the fez customized to read "Kosair" instead of a generic let's-not-hurt-any-other-temple's-feelings scramble of letters. The statue stood at the Kosair Shriners Temple on South Second Street before moving to this more suburban lawn. The Temple on S. 2nd St. still features a giant fez over the entrance.

Note: We've seen pix online of a Kosair statue on the campus of the University of Louisville, and also in front of the Home of the Innocents, 1100 East Market St. Perhaps someone can confirm if there is more than one in town.... Dec. 5, 2012 Update: Karen H. informs "There is one in front of Big Brothers/Big Sisters on Gardiner Lane, one in front of the Kosair Club on 3rd street and another at the Downs Syndrome Center on Hurstbourne Lane. "

Shriner Statue - Silent Messenger

Address:
982 Eastern Pkwy, Louisville, KY
Directions:
South side of Eastern Pkwy between Burnett Ave. and Lydia St.
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