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Veterans Reflection Circle
The circle is located within the Surprise Community Park, next to the fishing lake. The site was selected as a tribute to Mancini’s love of nature, fishing and quiet self-reflection. These were important components to his healing philosophy he shared at Honor House, the nonprofit Mancini started to help fellow combat veterans connect with non-medicinal therapies.
Elements of water and plant life are woven into a tranquil seating area and circular pathway. The memorial pays tribute to Mancini and his legacy by telling his story and providing a place for veterans to reflect, find healing and feel the community’s deep appreciation for their service and sacrifice.
The beautiful and thoughtful project design was completed at no cost by local design companies Logan Simpson and WERK. The generosity and heart of these firms inspired the idea to invite members of the construction and landscape communities to become partners in honoring our veterans by donating products and services to help bring this incredible project to life. Nearly 40 companies joined in to donate products and services to create this space. See the “Our Partners” section.
The Veterans Reflection Circle opened with a dedication ceremony and ribbon cutting on Veterans Day 2019. See photos from the event in the “Dedication” tab below.
Brian Scott Mancini was a medically retired Sergeant First Class, Combat Wounded Veteran who served as a Combat Medic with two tours in Baghdad, Iraq. He served over 12 years in the United States Army and was the recipient of two Purple Hearts, the Combat Action Badge, Combat Medical Badge, Air Assault Badge and Flight Medic Badge.
In 2007, Mancini suffered life-threatening injuries from a roadside bomb attack in Iraq. Following years of surgeries and rehabilitation, the Surprise resident founded Honor House, a place where wounded veterans could go for therapy and counseling.
Mancini passed away at the age of 38 in 2017. That same year, he was posthumously inducted into the Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame.
His story and combat injuries were the focus of an April 2018 60 Minutes story detailing new medical studies surrounding PTSD and the brain impacts suffered during explosions.
In January 2019, the Surprise City Council unanimously approved the conceptual plan for the Veterans Reflection Circle located within the Surprise Community Park, next to the Surprise Lake.
Prior to Council’s vote, in June 2018, the city’s Honoring an Exceptional Leader Task Force was reconvened at Council’s request to identify possible ways in which to honor late veteran and resident Brian Mancini.
During the task force process, two members of the design community – Jesse Westad with WERK Urban Design and Landscape Architecture and Jerry Moar with Logan Simpson – were inspired and moved by Mancini’s story and volunteered in-kind design services for the Veterans Reflection Circle. They presented their concept to the task force who recommended that it be presented to Council.
Wested and Moar gave a moving presentation on the project to City Council in December, 2018, describing their design and their heart behind it.
Watch the presentation to City Council on December 4, 2018
The following month, Council took an official vote to approve the project at their Regular Session City Council Meeting.
Watch the presentation to City Council on January 15, 2019
Council also voted to name a conference room in the Surprise Resource Center to the Brian Mancini Conference Room at the task force’s recommendation. The room is a place where veterans currently meet for friendship, fellowship and to receive services as they are transitioning into the civilian community or improve their life.
The city of Surprise broke ground June 24, 2019 on the Veterans Reflection Circle in honor of late Surprise resident and combat wounded veteran Brian Mancini, who spent his life serving his country and helping other wounded veterans find healing.
More than 100 people from the community, along with Brian’s friends and family, attended the ceremony at the Northwest Regional Library in Surprise.
The Veterans Reflection Circle will be built just outside the library in the Surprise Community Park, next to the fishing lake, and will open on Veterans Day 2019.
The beautiful and thoughtful project design was completed at no cost to the city by local design companies Logan Simpson and WERK. The generosity and heart of these firms inspired the idea to invite members of the construction and landscape communities to become partners in honoring our veterans by donating products and services to help bring this incredible project to life.
Jesse Westad, owner of WERK Urban Design and Engineering, spoke at the ceremony, which also included remarks from: Surprise City Manager Mike Frazier; Mayor Skip Hall; Budd Gilbert, Honor House Board Member; and James Crean, VP of Business Development with Haydon Building Corp.
The city of Surprise opened the Veterans Reflection Circle in honor of SFC Brian Mancini Veterans Day 2019 with a dedication ceremony and ribbon cutting. Thank you to everyone who came out to share in this special moment.
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