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RS Native Makes Sculpture Honoring Brian Morden Foundation, Families Dealing With Childhood Cancer

After the late Dawn Morden lost her son Brian to cancer, she established the Brian Morden Foundation in 2003. With this, she began Altoona Gold Ribbon Game at Mansion Park. At this game, everybody wears ribbons and raises money for families affected by childhood cancer.

David Beach, a Roaring Spring native and owner of Fox Chapel Iron Works, was approached shortly after Dawn passed last June.

"I actually never got to meet her," Beach said. "The board of the Brian Morden Foundation came to me and asked me about doing a community public art display at Mansion Park."

He said that the ribbon design was pretty straight forward. There was one thing that he added. They wanted the childhood cancer ribbon. He suggested adding the word "cure" to it to lift viewers' spirits and inspire hope.

"It is more of an action item," Beach said. "That's my contribution to it."

The foundation noticed Beach's custom large butterflies while visiting his showroom. Dawn loved butterflies, so this became a must for the design.

"I make very large artistic butterflies, all by hand," Beach said. "[Dawn] also loved iris flowers and ironically, I was doing an artistic job for a couple in Williamsport and I had irises. It was kind of meant to be."

Then, it was up to Beach to decide dimensions and placement.

"That's where my artistic experience comes into it," Beach said. "Honestly, the majority of the design is from them. I figured out placings and how it would come together."

The statue is located inside Mansion Park. After entering through the main gates, off to the right within probably 100 to 150 feet, there is a landscape area that has a plaque in memory of Brian Morden, along with Beach's statue.

Beach started working with metal in the 1990s.

"I was always a corporate manager, but I made things on the side for family and friends along with a commission every now and then, experimenting with artistic metals," Beach said.

He has been a full-time artist for nine years.

Beach said that he would like to thank the Altoona School District, The Brian Morden Foundation and the board of the foundation for giving him the opportunity to be able to do this for the public.

"If it helps somebody, I don't want to promote myself through those kinds of things," Beach said. "I do them for the community and it gets me to another level. I do my best work when I know that there is people who can benefit from this."

He is on Instagram at FoxChapelIron and Facebook at Fox Chapel Iron Works.


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