Robert MacDonald, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, invited Gary and Emma Koeppel to Washington to express his department’s appreciation for their donation of 33 Enduring Freedom Tributes, one for each Veterans Hospital in the United States.
“This kind of support volunteered by patriotic citizens helps remind our veterans that their service and sacrifices in preserving America’s freedoms are recognized and appreciated”.
In 1990 Koeppel commissioned Big Sur sculptor Robert Signorella to create a monumental, 7-foot high by 6-foot wide, patriotic sculpture to honor American veterans from the Gulf Wars.
In 2006 General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, officially received the Koeppel’s donation of the original monument where it now stands on permanent display at the Main Metro Entrance of the Pentagon where it greets the building’s 900,000 annual visitors.
“Patriotic art in public places is one of the many ways we can pay homage to veterans who have given so much to preserve our liberties and way of life”, commented Koeppel.
The Enduring Freedom Foundation was founded by Koeppel to encourage artists to create patriotic artworks to be installed in public places to honor the men and women in the five armed forces who serve to protect the enduring freedoms of America.
The Koeppel’s have owned and operated several Coast Galleries in California and Hawaii since 1971 and have represented over 2,000 American artists and artisans during their career.