Thursday, February 08, 2001

Butler statue pays tribute

By Lew Moores
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — They are taken with the detail in the statue — the creases in the boot as the firefighter kneels with a rescued child, the twisted strap at his back, the tread on the bottom of his boots, all frozen in bronze.

        “To me it looks like a firefighter who has just come out of a structure,” West Chester Fire Department Lt. Kelly Mayer said of Butler County's new fire memorial.

        “The detail is unbelievable,” said Oxford Fire Department Chief Len Endress.

[photo] Lt. Kelly Mayer, a West Chester firefighter, was the model for the new Butler County Fallen Firefighter and Emergency Medical Service Provider Memorial.
(Michael Snyder photo)
| ZOOM |
        The Butler County Fire Chief's Association on Wednesday unveiled the statue that will form the heart of the Butler County Fallen Firefighter and Emergency Medical Service Provider Memorial.

        Lt. Mayer and Chief Endress coordinated the project to raise the money, select an artist and bring the idea to fruition.

        The 350-pound statue is the work of Kent, Ohio, artist George Danhires. It will be moved from the Hamilton Fire Department to Monument Park and dedicated at 1:30 p.m. March 25.

        The statue will sit atop a 4-foot pedestal. Relief plaques will recognize 16 firefighters who have died in the line of duty in Butler County since 1912.

        The list of fallen firefighters begins with three who were killed battling the Butler County Courthouse fire in 1912 — Hamilton firefighters John Hunker, William Love and George Fritz. It ends with Ross firefighter Charlie Young, who suffered a heart attack following an emergency medical run in October 1999.

        The 16 firefighters and life squad members memorialized represent fire departments in Hamilton, Liberty Township, West Chester, Fairfield Township, Fairfield and Ross.

        Lt. Mayer said the fund is about $3,000 short of the $37,000 cost. Donations came from municipal and county offices, as well as private individuals.

        From conception to casting, it took Mr. Danhires about two years to complete the statue.

        “We wanted a realistic, life-size, action depiction of a fire scene,” Lt. Mayer said.

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