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Perry Koepke "Embrace"

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Losing Perry was tragic to the community and his family. Perry took his own life when the struggles of this world became too much for him to bear. His parents said that he always looked out for the outcasts and embraced them love and respect. He experienced a good bit of heartache and anxiety, but he didn’t show it outwardly. Rather he turned his own experiences into a desire to make others feel welcome. His friends remember one of his most common phrases when he met others as “Charmed, I’m sure”. He found his niche in playing soccer and in playing cymbals in the band. Band was his family. As the family described Perry to me, I felt the need to honor his story through a monument that invited people in. The shape of Perry’s monument and base together create an “embrace” to symbolize how Perry created a welcoming place for all people that he met. The smaller tablet that houses his portrait has the round portion to give a nod to both soccer and cymbals. This portion of the smaller piece is mostly inside the “embrace” to show his feeling of belonging in these activities, while the rock portion juts out beyond the “embrace” of the tablet to show the difficulties he faced outside of that place of belonging. Visualizing the tablet as a shoulder and outstretched arm, the text “Charmed, I’m sure” was inscribed on the top of the monument near where a hand of greeting would be, since it was often heard when he met others. An award that he earned in band is placed in the heart of his name since band was his family. The text on the tablet was inscribed to honor the life that he lived while the text on the base encourages others to love as he loved.

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