-By Rob Olason
The Vigil sculpture was dedicated on October 14, 2006. Located in the heart of Blaine, Washington at the intersection of H Street and Peace Portal, the sculpture is the focal point of the city. The Vigil overlooks Drayton Harbor and casts a steady gaze to the West, to the waters of Georgia Strait, where much of the economic livelihood of the settlement was derived.
The $175,000 bronze sculpture stands just under six feet in height and weighs 850 pounds. The local community rallied to raise most of the funds for the sculpture created by noted artist, Bob McDermott, who donated his time and creative energy to see the project complete.
Local Icelandic descendant, Jan Hrutfiord, was the model for the two women figures. The sculpture consists of four figures, a grandmother, mother and her young son, who is holding a small dog. This family group waits at the shoreline hoping to catch the first glimpse of the fishing fleet returning to harbor, and anxiously awaiting the safe return of the men in their family.
Jan Hrutfiord recalled her own family living out the story of the Vigil, as her mother would bring her to the harbor when news reached them that her father’s fishing boat was returning from sea. Later, as an adult, Jan would continue this ritual as her own sons worked as fishermen.