Tuesday, September 14, 1999

Statue to honor fallen Butler Co. firefighters

Officials donate $12,333 for project

The Cincinnati Enquirer

Firefighters are seeking donations from businesses, organizations and individuals. Donations can be sent to the Butler County Fire Chiefs Association, 9119 Cincinnati-Dayton Road, West Chester 45069.
        HAMILTON — The firefighter in full gear drops to one knee as he cradles an infant in his arms, presumably after just having rescued him from a fire.

        It's a wax miniature replica of a bronze statue to be built on Monument Avenue in downtown Hamilton to honor 14 Butler County firefighters and emergency medical personnel who have died in the line of duty.

        Kelly Mayer, co-chairman of the Butler County Fire Chiefs Association's memorial committee, showed the wax statue to county commissioners Monday and asked them for a donation to kick off the fund-raising campaign for the memorial.

        The commissioners agreed to donate $12,333, the amount needed for George Danhires, the artist who designed the wax miniature, to proceed with the project. The total cost of the memorial is $37,000.

        “I've seen what that statue depicts in real-life situations,” said Commissioner Chuck Furmon, a retired Hamilton police official.

        The memorial will be a bronze statue of the firefighter holding the infant atop a 4-foot-high stone pedestal. It will sit near the entrance to the bicycle trail that runs along the Great Miami River.

        The fire chiefs association selected Mr. Danhires, of Kent, Ohio, to create the memorial.

        “We were very impressed with the quality of his work,” said Mr. Mayer, a Union Township firefighter. “His statues have such great detail.”

        The memorial is expected to be dedicated in November 2000.

        The first of the 14 Butler County firefighters and emergency medical personnel who died in the line of duty were three Hamilton firefighters killed battling a blaze at the Butler County Courthouse in 1912. They are John M. Hunker, William M. Love and George P. Fritz.

        Others are Hamilton Fire Lt. Don A. Howard, 1941; Hamilton firefighter George J. Kramer, 1946; Hamilton firefighter George R. Schneider, 1946; Hamilton firefighter Clifford F. Peters, 1953; Liberty Township firefighter Gene Kadel, 1958; Moss G. Prueitt, Hamilton Life Squad member, 1959; Hamilton firefighter Paul R. Cook, 1967; Hamilton Fire Capt. Ralph I. Thomas, 1968; Hamilton Deputy Chief Stanley M. Meyer, 1971; Union Township firefighter Robert M. Landenwitsch; and Fairfield Township firefighter William Gray Sr., 1989.

        Money will be raised to buy a bronze plaque inscribed with the names of these 14 men.


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