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Firefighters Need Help Building Memorial

By: Denny Trease
By: Denny Trease

Fayette Countians have an opportunity to pay a debt of gratitude to those who work so hard to keep them safe.

The Lexington Fraternal Order of Firefighters Thursday launched a $250,000 capital campaign to build a Monument To The Fallen.

If all goes according to plan, that monument will be tied into the Police Memorial that is already part of the landscape at Phoenix Park in downtown Lexington.

Captain Jeff Garris, co-chair of the Monument Committee, said at a news conference, "We want the community to get involved in this endeavor. We serve the community. We want their help."

Fraternal Order of Firefighters President Charles Gumm is confident the public will respond despite hard times. "With the economy the way it is, everybody is feeling the pinch right now, but I just hope people can dig down and donate a little bit. If everybody just gives a little bit, we could get this done pretty quick."

But don't look for the new monument to start going up immediately. The Fraternal Order of Firefighters are going to make sure that all the necessary money is raised before construction begins.

Captain Garris says, "We have assured the mayor and the council that no dirt will be turned until we raise full funding for this project."

The most recent Lexington Firefighter to be killed in the line of duty was Lieutenant Brenda Cowan who was shot while responding to an EMS call in 2004. Thankfully, her name will be one of relatively few on the monument.

Garris says, "Having been organized as a volunteer fire department since 1864, we've had only 7 losses recorded.. Record keeping wasn't very good prior to 1930, but those are the only 7 we have been able to find, and we want to honor those that have given the ultimate sacrifice for the citizens of Fayette County.

For more information on how to donate toward the monument, just go to the web site www.lfdfof.org, and look for the link to the Firefighters Memorial.


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