Harlingen man creates living statue in honor of veterans

HARLINGEN — Palm fronds were what once topped an 80-foot Washingtonia palm tree in Mel Lofgren’s lawn.

Today, the tree is not as tall as it once was, but its new look gives it just as much glory as it always had.

The tree stands only 12 feet now and has a statue of a bald eagle perched at the top instead of palm leaves.

It has become an artistic salute to the armed forces and the men and women who have served in the military.

“It’s good recognition to the guys who have served and who are still serving,” said Jeremy Adams, Mel’s son-in-law and an Army veteran who was wounded in Afghanistan. “We don’t get enough recognition unless it’s Veterans Day.”

The tree in Mel’s yard was struck by lightning last year.

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