Blaine and Birch Bay locals came out to H Street Plaza on June 8 to witness the dedication of a new plaque for the Vigil.
Sculptor Bob McDermott, who unveiled the plaque while explaining the history and significance of the artwork, crafted the Vigil statue in 2006. The plaque itself was designed by Leroy Dougall of the Blaine Public Works Department.
The Vigil is dedicated to the wives and children of Blaine’s fishermen, who maintained the town during their husbands’ lengthy, and sometimes permanent, voyages out to sea.
“These women provided civilizing influences,” the plaque reads. “They kept the home fires burning. They were the steady
hands behind the schools, the churches and the community.”
Bruce Wolf, who spearheaded the fundraising efforts for the plaque, gave the introductory speech and praised all the hard work that went into making both the statue and the plaque a reality.
“As far as I know, there’s no other statue like this in the world; one that honors the women,” Wolf said.
Blaine local Jan Hrutfjiord, who has her likeness immortalized in the Vigil statue, was on hand to speak about her family’s history with the Blaine fishing industry.
“This has always been a fishing town, and even though there are sadly fewer fishermen working here today, I think it always will be,” Hrutfjiord said.
The Pacific Arts Association, along with many private donors, funded much of the project. Those who contributed more than $1,000 were acknowledged with engravings on the new plaque. The proceeds from these engravings will go towards scholarships for the Drayton Harbor Music Festival. Two of the festival’s former students, Joey Winkler and Maddie Larsen, provided musical accompaniment for the ceremony.