A statue of Dr. Norman Graham was unveiled April 1 outside HCA Houston Healthcare Tomball.

The statue serves as a monument of the longtime community figure who made his way to Tomball from South Dakota in the 1950s and immortalizes his contributions and significance in the community, HCA Houston officials said.

“When you think about memorializing someone in memory, a physical monument is obviously very, very moving, and it's a bit of a legacy in our town,” hospital CEO Robert Marmerstein said at the unveiling. “We see multiple important figures throughout Tomball represented in statue form, and there's nothing warmer than seeing Doc Graham welcoming you to the campus for decades and decades to come.”

The statue installment was funded collaboratively by Tomball City Council, public donors from the community and the hospital, honoring the city’s previous statement from Nov. 2 that no city or tax funds would be used for the project.

“We made a contribution to the legacy fund tagged for this [statue], and then [City Council] continued to collect contributions to support the statue, and of course then the hospital paid for all the site prep work,” Marmerstein said.

The statue's sculptor, Shirley Scarpetta, and Graham’s family worked together throughout the sculpting process to create the monument before adding the final bronze touch, Tomball Mayor Gretchen Fagan said.

“Mostly it was the family working directly with Shirley trying to get everything taken care of, making sure everything was right,” Fagan said. “Kay [Graham’s daughter] actually was the one who went out and approved it, because what she does is—first she does it in clay, and so you can go look at it and say, ‘No, move this here and this over here.’ It's a fascinating process to watch. Kay went out and approved it, and then they did the mold and then cast it in bronze.”

Scarpetta said she felt the statue stood to honor essential work in the midst of the pandemic in addition to signifying Graham’s legacy at the hospital.

“So many of you have come up to me to say he has been your doctor since birth and aided in so many ways,” Scarpetta said. “At a time such as this, during the pandemic and the shaking of our very existence, it is my honor to be able to commemorate an essential worker, which represents all of you who selflessly give your lives to save others time and again.”