HANSEN, Idaho -- The family of Staff Sergeant Jerry "Beaver" Bonifacio Jr. plans to install a life-size memorial dedicated to their son's memory in the front yard.
Bonifacio was killed in action by a suicide bomber in Baghdad, Iraq in October of 2005. Growing up his family called him "Beaver." They say Bonifacio Jr. took pride in the nickname.
Beaver's namesake memorial arrived by truck Tuesday from the Black Bear Diner chain. With great pride, the Bonifacio family unwrapped the wooden replica of the combat beaver perched on a pedestal.
The statue will be erected and stay in the front yard of the Bonifacio home. Jerry's mother said the arrival of the statue was a really special moment for her family.
“Real grateful, and I am pleased that it was able to get done, and I am real happy with the item,” said Anna Bonifacio. “It turned out really nice.”
The family is also going to place a flagpole next to the statue.
Black Bear Diner's Ray Schulz is a master wood carver and the artist behind more than 200 iconic restaurant bears. He humbly accepted the request to make the bear and covered all the expenses.
It was through the Army's Survivor Outreach Services Office and the Gold Star Family program that this was possible for the family.
Now the memory of their son is always in sight of the public, sitting in the front yard.