Bryant memorial brings NWC and the community together to remember
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The 20th anniversary of the tragic death of Berry Bryant has brought NWC and the community together.
The welding department and local community member Michael VandeVeegaete of Powell worked together to create a fence that would keep the cows away from a memorial made for Bryant. VandeVeegaete asked the welding program and Harold Elton to help create this fence that would protect the memorial. The fence is on private land at the site of Barry’s death. The fence surrounds a cross that was created by VandeVeegaete, his brother, and friends. This was done this year to mark the anniversary of Bryant’s death.
“We were glad to chip in and participate,” said Harold Elton, Associate Professor of Welding.
The memorial was constructed by members of the community and the Elton family. Harold Elton and his son Lee both work in the welding program and helped create the fence. His other son, John Elton who works at the Red Lodge High School made the cut out sign for the fence that includes the name of Berry Bryant, her birth and death dates with the words “rape and murder victim.”
Rod Burners, the NWC welding club, donated the pipe to create the fence. VandeVeegaete doesn’t actually know the Bryant family personally, but felt compelled to create the memorial so that the family knew that someone still remembers her tragic death. VandeVeegaete worked very hard to put this memorial together and make it special for Sharon Bryant, mother of Barry Bryant.
“It was very gratifying that I did something that meant so much to her,” VandeVeegaete said.
VandeVeegaete said it felt like it was something that had to be done for Bryant family. He thought it was a nice memorial to have out there that people could go see and remember her.
“It won’t bring her back, but it can be something tangible in memorial for Sharon’s daughter” VandeVeegaete said.
Sharon Bryant spoke on Thursday, Oct. 6, to the students and community about her daughter; she has wanted to inform people about sexual assault and abuse and how it can happen to anyone. She shared her past experiences with abuse, sexual assault and the murder of her daughter as a way to inform others and help raise awareness.
“We can’t undo what’s happened, but we can help,” Bryant said.
Sharon Bryant had experienced abuse in her life and she took the right step to get away to create a better life for herself and her kids. She knows the struggles of sexual assault and abuse victims, which is why she shares this information to others. She knows the dangers out there and how violent people can be.
Bryant said she was honored when NWC asked her to talk to
the community and students.
“It’s refreshing and rewarding that the college still remembers her,” Bryant said.