Washington County's First Responders Memorial in its infancy phase
Nearly six months after a ceremonial ground breaking, organizers behind an ambitious Washington County memorial for police officers, firefighters and other emergency workers are still trying to raise awareness — and money.
Northwest Savings Bank branches can accept donations for the First Responders Memorial planned for Washington Cemetery in North Franklin. Donations can be made at the cemetery office.
The project is estimated to cost as much as $500,000. So far, $1,500 has been raised through donations from the North Strabane and Peters fire departments.
“The project itself is kind of in the infancy stages,” said Paul Shiring Sr., the cemetery's superintendent who is working on the project with Washington City Councilman Joe Manning. “It's going to take some time to raise this money.”
Brentwood artist Jim Prokell sketched a rendering that depicts a firefighter passing an injured child to an emergency medical technician with a police officer there to help. He hopes to create a model after more money is raised.
“It's called momentum,” said Prokell, who designed the Flying Scot statue at Edinboro University. “You've got to think big.”
The envisioned memorial would include a three-sided marble base with a larger-than-life bronze sculpture. Private alcoves with benches would be incorporated so visitors can quietly reflect.
“This thing, if done correctly, is going to out-live all of us involved in its creation,” Prokell said. “It needs to be timeless enough to be embraced by decades beyond us.”
Inspiration came from the work of first responders on Sept. 11, 2001, many of whom died when the Twin Towers collapsed, and intensified following the February 2007 death of Washington firefighter Jeremy Labella, who became the department's first fatality in 50 years, said Manning, a former firefighter and EMT whose late father was Washington's fire chief.
“It's very important that I see this through,” Manning said.
The project is important to Shiring for personal reasons. His son is a North Strabane firefighter.
“When you have a son or daughter who works as a first responder, the phrase, ‘I'm going to work, Dad,' takes on a whole different meaning,” Shiring said, his voice cracking slightly with emotion. “This is coming, and it's in their honor. We just hope it serves them right.”
Jason Cato is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7936 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.