Students give ‘Wendy Rose’ sculpture a temporary head



The beheaded “Wendy Rose” sculpture was given a temporary, futuristic replacement Wednesday afternoon by high school students.

Students in David Richards’ welding class at Fort Vancouver High School created a solid metal head resembling Bender, a robot character from the animated television series “Futurama,” and secured it at the top of the sculpture. The solid metal head is not permanently attached, said Kris Sork, spokeswoman for Vancouver Public Schools.

The sculpture’s head went missing May 11. On Monday, Vancouver business owner John Rudi offered a reward for the return of the sculpture’s rightful head, a scarf of red-and-white polka dot glass welded between metal. It topped the 10-foot-high, 1,000-pound statue.

Rudi’s grandmother was a “Wendy Welder,” a group of women who worked at the Kaiser Shipyard during World War II, which the sculpture honors. Rudi also owns Thompson Metal Fab Inc., a metal fabrication company on the original Vancouver Kaiser Shipyard site.

Rudi and his wife, Michele Rudi, originally donated $45,000 for the erection of the sculpture and the plaza where it stands on the Waterfront Renaissance Trail, east of the Interstate 5 Bridge. The plaza is named the James and Joyce Harder Memorial Plaza after the family that started Thompson Metal Fab.

Anyone with information on the theft is asked to call the Vancouver Police Department tip line, 360-487-7399; callers can be anonymous. Tips can also be made through Crime Stoppers of Oregon by texting 823HELP + your tip to 274637 (CRIMES), or by calling the tip line at 503-823-4357.