The City's Honoring an Exceptional Leader Task Force will present two recommendations for ways in which to honor the late Brian Mancini, to the City Council at their December 4th Work Session.
At the task force’s October 30 meeting, members were presented with a design concept proposal for the Veterans Reflection Circle by landscape architecture firms LoganSimpson and WERK. These two companies volunteered their design services at no cost to the city as a tribute to Brian’s service to our country and his ongoing efforts to support fellow veterans.
The task force had previously selected the circular area, just west of Surprise Lake, as their recommended location for the Veterans Reflection Circle, as it was located next to Surprise Lake and surrounded by trees connecting to Brian’s love of fishing and nature.
The professional design proposal included the task force’s request to add a tranquil water feature to the space and plaques telling Brian’s story and featuring his self-authored “Pity” poem. The recommended design expands into a visual display of Brian’s journey as a wounded-combat veteran coming home and searching for ways to help fellow veterans transition into civilian life.
The center of the design represents a veteran and their personal struggle after combat. A spiral transition connects visitors to how Brian pushed through the struggles to connect with the community to help support more veterans find peace through non-medicinal therapies. And finally, a water feature named Brian’s Bench draws a visitor’s eye to the lake and a special garden representing Brian’s last walk.
The estimated cost of the project is between $80,000 and $100,000. The task force, with input from the in-kind design firms, will recommend to Council a funding option that will include a public request-for-proposals from area businesses to provide in-kind services and materials to make the design a reality. The Veterans Reflection Circle recommendation would be at no cost to the city to design or construct.
The task force also approved recommending that the Surprise Resource Center's conference room be named in honor of Brian. It would include displaying posters telling his story and his "Pity" poem in the room. The center houses various veteran employment programs including the Surprise Veteran Job Club and weekly veteran employment assistance from the Veterans Administration and the state's Disabled Veteran Outreach Program. The cost of this recommendation would be under $1,000.
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. He 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.
Suffering from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Mancini ended his life at the age of 38 in 2017.
The task force will present their recommendations to the City Council at the Work Session Tuesday, December 4, 4 p.m., in the City Council Chambers of City Hall, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza. The public is encouraged to attend.
At that meeting, per policy, City Council will either recommend that the item be brought forward at the next City Council Meeting for action, or ask that the task force perform additional work. The task force will be dismissed after final City Council action.