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Link Piazzo, WWII Air Force Pilot Captain

"Paula, Link just LOVES his portrait sculpture! You were absolutely the right sculptor for the job. This is an amazing portrait and you are an amazing sculptor!
Thanks again,”
~ Jeanne Barrett - Nevada Humane Society
"The bronze portrait is just terrific! I can't believe all the amazing detail. I couldn't be happier. Thank you for doing such a great job!"
~ Link Piazzo
Location: Humane Society Museum, Reno, Nevada
Size: Life Size, 6’ High
Year Completed: 2006

Slater was awarded the honor of sculpting a life size full-figure portrait of Reno philanthropist Link Piazzo as he looked when he was a WWII Army Air Corps Pilot Captain. He flew 67 missions, and was awarded 14 metals for his service, including the Distinguished Flying Cross award.

Slater’s first meeting with Link was in his upstairs office above his Sporting Goods Store. Though born in 1918 and 88 years of age at that time, Link was eager to show Slater many of his awards and Sporting Goods memorabilia. He had autographed photos of himself with some of professional sport celebrity greats throughout the years. Slater was immediately impressed with Link’s clarity of mind and infectious spirit as he related story after story of his full to overflowing life.

When it came to talking about how he wanted to remember in bronze, Link was adamant that he wanted a realistic sculptural portrait of himself as he looked during WWII. He said, “I don’t want to be remembered as an old guy. What the fun in that!”

Slater paid great attention to all the little details of Piazzo’s portrait and to the accuracy of his full uniform. The finely finished life size bronze casting was installed in the new Humane Society Museum in Reno, Nevada. It was unveiled during a live telethon on April 23rd, 2006. Link loved animals and donated more than a million dollars to the Nevada Humane Society so they could increase the size of their facility and house more animals waiting for adoption.

In 1938, Link and his brother Chet, founded The Sportsman sporting goods store in Reno, Nevada. A career that would last 60 years. Link served as president of the Western Sporting Goods Association and National Sporting Goods Association. His business was selected as the National Winner of the Leadership Award in the sporting goods industry for small and medium volume retailers. He was also involved in a number of land development projects, including three shopping centers in Reno and was a founding member of Hidden Valley Residential Community. He served on the Board of Directors for 55 years and was President for 23.

Link was an active member in a number of community organizations and was awarded a numerous honors for his civic activities. He was the voice of UNR football and basketball games and the co-host of the Sportman’s Corner television show, later known as Sportman’s Trails.

Later in life, philanthropy became Link’s calling including donations to Reno High School, Nevada Humane Society, University of Nevada Reno Athletic Department, Reno YMCA, Reno Rotary, Rotary International, Saint Mary’s Hospital, City of Reno Community Center, Pet Network Animal Friends of Incline Village, among others.

Link was an inspiration to many and an energetic doer. His mottos in life included the title of his autobiography, It Can Always Be Worse. Never Give Up!