OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — A group of Omahans is working on a tribute to Rev. Livingston Wills. The man, affectionately known as the Broom Man, was a blind preacher who went door to door selling brooms in different neighborhoods of the city. He passed away in 2008.
Artist John Lajba is working on creating the statue. He is known for artwork throughout the country. In Omaha, he created the Road to Omaha statue outside TD Ameritrade Park and the statues that greet you at The Durham Museum.
"I want them to feel like, 'Hey, I met this man. There's a sculpture of this man who sold brooms and he's not really famous but you know they took all the expense and time to create this sculpture of him, and here he is in downtown Omaha,'" said Lajba.
There's a Facebook page dedicated to his memory and the statue project. It's had many donors but organizers are hoping for a large donor to help them finish the project.
"It always amazed me as a young child to see a blind man navigating the neighborhood with such precision, it astounded me," said committee member David Jensen.
The final location for the statue has not yet been decided. Lajba is finishing the clay sculpture which will be used to make molds so the statue can be created in bronze.
The family of Wills sent a news release with a statement that they no longer support the specific goals from this project. They said his legacy is bigger than a mere statue.