Before I Die...

Before I Die...


hen the Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center contacted La Crosse Sign Group to bring to life a vision that would inspire, we could not wait to get started.  In the sign business typically signs are built to direct, communicate and advertise.  When the opportunity comes to create something that inspires the community, you realize a business becomes more than a business.

Before I Die Movement

Candy Chang presented a TED Talk in November of 2012 inspiring people to share their hopes and dreams by renovating a wall of an abandoned home. On this wall were the words “Before I Die…” and a blank space after. This invited those in the community to write dreams and bucket list items, inspiring a movement that led to walls created in 76 countries, and stenciled in 38 languages.

Before I Die - Candy Chang

Fostering Hope and Humanity

Similarly, the Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center was looking for an interactive way to foster hope and humanity. The Tomah VA Medical Center helps Veterans transition through various phases of life. Whether it is dealing with a medical issue, grieving the loss of independence, managing mental health issues, or recovering from substance abuse disorders. The Tomah VA Medical Center is there to help.

Sign Consultant, Joel House, writing what his "Before I Die" statement on the monument.

Getting Everyone Involved

La Crosse Sign Group designed, built and installed a four sided sign inviting patients, visitors and staff to write out dreams and goals, “Before I Die…” A crucial design element was enabling patients who were not physically well enough to visit the sign a way to write down their message. The solution was creating removable panels with magnets, which could be delivered to patients rooms, then delivered back outside. The response received from the staff, patients & veterans was an overwhelming positive one. No doubt a marquee piece around the campus facilities.

Sign Consultant, James Fuchsel, writing his "Before I Die" statement on the monument.

The Monument

The selected material consists of recycled compressed paper that acts as a solid surface engineered for the outdoors. It requires no finish or maintenance and has proven itself as a great alternative to chalk boards. The text was computer routed directly into the material, exposing a custom secondary color to reduce maintenance and cost. The material used is produced by Richlite, distributed by Intectural out of Duluth Minnesota.

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