Tri-County News

Statue honoring Alayna is unveiled in WatkinsFree Access



An Ertl family portrait. The Ertl family poses with Alayna’s statue in McCarthy Park in Watkins. From left are brother Carter, dad Matt, sister Emri, and mom Kayla. The Ertl family will again host a Halloween party (trunk or treat in the St. Anthony parking lot) from 3-5 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 31, to commemorate Alayna’s 13th birthday. Staff photos by George Matua.

It’s been seven years. Seven long years since 5-year-old Alayna was snatched from her bed and from her family and her community. She will forever be 5 now, and a statue of the vivacious, gregarious little girl now stands amidst a garden in McCarthy Park in Watkins, just blocks from where she breathed her last. 

It’s a project nearly two years in the making, but Brodin Studios of Kimball created a life-sized statue of Alayna, at the request of the Watkins Lions. Delayed a few weeks as artists at Brodin Studios achieved just the right look, the statue was installed Saturday, and unveiled to a large and appreciative crowd Sunday, Sept. 10.

The community has always embraced and supported Alayna’s family, parents Matt and Kayla, and siblings Carter and Emri. And the statue is a permanent display of that love and support.

The granite base of Alayna’s statue reads: “Live, love and make memories. One day God will call you back. — Alayna Ertl. Oct. 31, 2010 – Aug. 20, 2016.”

Brodin Studios, Weststar Curb & Concrete, Little Falls Granite Works, and the Watkins Lions all helped to make this memorial a reality. Thank you!

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