Walk into Mecklenburg County’s Veterans Services office and you might notice something in the lobby—a statuette of a heroic service member.

The sculpture depicts Scott Dayton, Senior Chief Petty Officer and Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) tech in the U.S. Navy. You may ask: why is it here?

It’s long, but heroic story. A story that winds from Virginia to Syria, to Mecklenburg County, and finally back to the U.S. Navy base in Norfolk, Va.

statuette of service member Scott Dayton

Watching Out for Our Vets

The Veterans Services office helps vets and their families navigate benefits and other valuable resources. Plus, they remember the soldiers and sailors who’ve paid the ultimate price. The exhibit in the Valerie C. Woodard County Services Center memorializes U.S. Navy divers and EOD techs. It’s also an early step in the birth of a larger monument.

Who Is Scott Dayton?

photo of service member Scott Dayton
Scott Cooper Dayton

Scott Dayton was a native of Virginia who spent more than 20 years in the Navy. As an EOD tech, his job was to defuse and dispose of explosives and other weapons of war. He died a hero while performing that duty in Syria in 2016, the first American service member killed in that conflict.

After Dayton’s death, the Navy Special Operations Foundation decided to establish a monument to service members like him.

Making of a Memorial

The Foundation reached out to Josh King, senior creative producer with Mecklenburg County and a 23-year armed forces veteran. The brother of an EOD tech, King is known for his extraordinary digital creative work and support for the military. The Foundation asked King to create a concept based on the image of Scott Dayton. With that heroic story and help from 3-D printing, King set to work on a sculpture.

Dedicating a Monument

Upon completion, the Foundation took one look at the concept and commissioned King to build a full-size version. King spent a year working on the project in his garage. Finally, on Aug. 19, 2022, the Foundation held a groundbreaking for the Navy Special Operations Memorial on Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, honoring the sacrifices of the war fighting arm of Navy Special Operations. And the face of Scott Dayton serves as a reminder of the heroes who give all for freedom.

Remembering the Sacrifice

Now that early concept sculpture, a product of sacrifice and the creative minds at Mecklenburg County, stands proudly at the entrance to Veterans Services office.

To learn more about the Veterans Services office, a division of Community Support Services, and how its dedicated staff help veterans from across the region, visit veterans.MeckNC.gov or call 704-336-2102.

statuette of service member Scott Dayton in a glass case in Mecklenburg County's veteran service office