Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Cleveland's Firefighters Memorial

Every year on St. Patrick’s Day in Cleveland, the city celebrates with a parade through the city’s downtown streets, including police and firefighters as staples of the parade procession. The Cleveland Firefighters Shamrock Club also hosts the annual Memorial to Fallen Firefighters at this time. But the memorial itself stands year round between Cleveland Browns Stadium and the Great Lakes Science Center. Dedicated on June 15th, 2007, it includes the names the 76 firefighters who died in the line of duty since the Cleveland Fire department formed in 1862.

Before the memorial could be finished, the artist who originally designed the statue, Luis Jimenez, known for his polychrome fiberglass sculptures, died in June of 2006 in an accident in his studio. A piece of one of his own sculptures fell on him, severing an artery in his leg. The Cleveland Firefighters sculpture was later completed with the combined efforts of Rob Hartshorn, the art director on the project, along with Ron Dewey, a sculptor, and Ralph Brussee, a painter.

Next time you’re near the stadium or the Science Center, stop by and visit the firefighters memorial and pay respects to your local firefighters, who work hard to keep us safe from fire and help us in other emergencies.

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