Dedication of the Firefighters' Memorial, which will honor Connecticut firefighters who lost their lives in the line of duty, is expected to take place late in October or in early November. That is the word from Ernie Herrick, chairman of the committee which conceived the project and raised the necessary funds.
Mr. Herrick said that Adams Granite Co., Barre, VT is presently engraving a polished block granite with the images of four firefighters battling a blaze. The original artwork for the centerpiece of the memorial site was created by Lt. Paul Walsh of the New Britain Fire Dept. Lt. Walsh is nationally known for his artistic depictions of firefighters.
The site on the grounds of the Fire Training Academy in Windsor Locks will consist of a plaza-like setting with a brick patio shaped in the form of a Maltese Cross, the universal symbol of the firefighting service. The names of the fallen firefighters will be inscribed on granite blocks set around the perimeter of the plaza.
The committee has verified more than 300 names, according to Mr. Herrick. He is calling on individuals and organizations with information about deaths prior to 1883 to contact him at 178 Ravine Road, Storrs, CT 06268.
The 2001 session of the General Assembly, at the request of Gov. John Rowland, approved a state contribution of $100,000 toward the cost of the memorial. More than $100,000 was raised by the committee from private sources.
A groundbreaking ceremony was held June 12. In brief remarks Lt. Gov. Jodi Rell said the memorial will underscore the dedication and bravery of Connecticut's firefighters.
Noting that firefighters often save the lives of others, she said that on occasion they are unable "to save their own lives."
Mrs. Rell called upon everyone not to take the service of firefighters for granted and expressed the hope that the memorial would serve as a vivid reminder that many have made the supreme sacrifice.