New memorial to pay tribute to fallen firefightersSince 1881, 193 Minnesota firefighters have died in the line of duty. A small memorial dedicated to these fallen heroes has stood in a tucked-away location near the baggage claim at the Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport for more than 20 years.
By: Staff Report, Alexandria Echo Press
Since 1881, 193 Minnesota firefighters have died in the line of duty. A small memorial dedicated to these fallen heroes has stood in a tucked-away location near the baggage claim at the Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport for more than 20 years.
Now, the Minnesota Fire Service Foundation has launched an initiative to create a much
larger, more accessible and interactive memorial on the grounds of the State Capitol
to give families, friends, co-workers and community members a permanent location to
pay tribute to these men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice.
The Minnesota Fire Service Foundation is working to raise $600,000 by Dec. 31, 2011, in
order to complete the memorial by National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend in October 2012. For more information or to donate, visit www.mnfireservicefoundation.org.
The initial phase of the campaign, which kicked off in July, asked each of Minnesota’s 20,000 firefighters to donate to the cause. So far, the initiative has raised more than $150,000, and many fire departments and individual firefighters have made commitments to participate prior to the end-of-year deadline.
“We’re extremely proud of the way the state’s firefighting community has stepped up to make the first contributions to this project,” says Foundation President and Eden Prairie Fire Chief George Esbensen. “We’re grateful for the support we’ve received and are excited to let other Minnesotans know about the effort, so together we can get this memorial built on hallowed ground.”
Financial contributions to the Minnesota State Firefighter Memorial fundraising effort can be sent to: Minnesota Fire Service Foundation c/o Flagship Bank, 7525 Office Ridge Road, Eden Prairie, MN 55344-3644. Online contributions can be made at: www.mnfireservicefoundation.org. All contributions are tax deductible.
The names of each of Minnesota’s fallen firefighters will be inscribed on columns as part of the
memorial, allowing loved ones to make keepsake name rubbings. According to Esbensen, the concept also includes the memorial sculpture that is currently at the airport, as well as other design features including a bench for people to use while reflecting on those who have given their lives in service to their communities, and a wall inscribed with the names of every fire department in the state of Minnesota.
The cost to build the memorial is $500,000, and the remaining $100,000 will be placed into a
maintenance fund for the memorial, per state regulations for a memorial placed on the grounds of the State Capitol. The Minneapolis office of Leo A. Daly, an architectural firm involved in several well-known projects including the World War II memorial in Washington D.C., designed the concept for the Minnesota firefighter memorial on a pro-bono basis.
The Minnesota Fire Service Foundation, created in 1986 to award scholarships to the children of current, retired or deceased firefighters from around the state, is led by nine members who serve on the board of directors: three each from the Minnesota State Fire Chiefs Association, Minnesota State Fire Departments Association and the Minnesota Professional Fire Fighters. The Minnesota Fire Service Foundation is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization located at 1710 County Hwy. 10, Blaine, MN, 55432.