The late Dallas “Pete” VanKirk is the 24th addition to the Wall of Witnesses in Soumas Court.
Sculptor Rick Stewart, of Newton, unveiled the bas relief he created during a ceremony on Monday, Sept. 24. Stewart has created 15 of the bas reliefs featured on the Wall of Witnesses.
Bill Clark, with Hometown Heritage, said three criteria need to be met before being nominated for the Wall of Witnesses. Those criteria, he said, include having a tie to Perry, having an interesting story and having an impact on the area.
VanKirk was selected as the 2018 Wall of Witnesses nominee through a selection process sponsored by the Perry Historic Preservation Commission and Hometown Heritage.
Connie McGuire, commission president, said VanKirk moved to Perry in 1965. Since that time, McGuire said he was heavily involved in the community.
“You can look around Perry and can see how many things Pete left his fingerprint on, where he had a positive impact,” said Janelle Repp, VanKirk’s step-daughter.
The most obvious, she said, being Progressive Foundry. VanKirk started at the company and worked himself up to achieve his dream of owning a big company and making it a success.
Repp added that one doesn’t have to look far to see another area he made a difference in the DMACC VanKirk Career Academy. That difference could also be seen, Repp said, in those VanKirk coached and mentored.
Darek VanKirk gestured to the Wall of Witnesses as he thanked those gathered during the unveiling ceremony.
“Dad would be especially proud to be up here with all these great Perry people,” he said.
Though Kirk VanKirk said he would have had a hard time with all of the attention during the ceremony and the reception.
“On behalf of the commission, I would like to congratulate the VanKirk family on Pete having been chosen as a recipient on the Wall of Witnesses,” McGuire said. “In short, the city has been very fortunate having had Pete as a member of this community.”