WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — It was an emotional and exciting day for the Wilmington Fire Department. They hosted a luncheon in the hopes to raise the money needed for a memorial at Empie Park. The memorial will be to honor the seven Wilmington Firefighters who lost their lives serving the community and the 343 firemen that died on September 11, 2001.
Wilmington Fire Chief Buddy Martinette said, “There should be a place that speaks to what a firefighter means to its community and we’re going to provide that kind of place and it’s going to be a wonderful amenity for our community.”
The memorial, which will be in the shape of a fire hat, will include a bronze statue of a firefighter holding up a piece of steel from from the rubble of the Twin Towers. Surrounding the structure will be seven bronze boots to represent the seven fallen Wilmington Firefighters.
“I think it’s going to be a source of pride. It’s right there at Empie Park. It’s right in front of the cross-city trails. And you know for the firemen, it’s really a memorial to the ones that are serving and that are working and that protect us,” said Louise McColl, a volunteer.
McColl hopes they can raise the funds soon so the memorial can be dedicated on September 11th of this year. She says being involved with the fire department has opened her eyes to the work that they do.
“I’m just proud to be a part of it. I think when 9-11 gets here, and if we’re ready to dedicate it that day, there’s going to be a lot of pride, not only by the firemen who it’s going to serve with, but for the community,” said McColl.
It’s a memorial that is generations in the making and it means a lot to family members of firefighters that were lost.
Martinette said that they’re just a little over halfway to their $250,000 goal.