Delaware Firefighter’s Memorial to be dedicated Sunday

DOVER — A new Firefighter’s Memorial will officially be dedicated by the Delaware Volunteer Firefighter’s Association on the southeast grounds of Legislative Mall on Sunday afternoon at 2.

The DVFA will also be unveiling the names of the four firefighters who died in 2016 during the ceremony.

Gov. John Carney, Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long, U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester and Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn are expected to be among the dignitaries present at the dedication.

Members of the families of the firefighters who are being honored, the Lewes Fire Department, the Wilmington Fire Department, volunteer firefighters from throughout the state and the Dover Police and Fire Pipes and Drums will also be in attendance.

It’s a ceremony that has been nearly four years in the making.

The old Delaware Fire Service Memorial Monument was removed by Lloyd Memorials and First State Crane from the base that it had sat on near Mirror Lake since 1971 on April 24.

The 22,000-pound concrete obelisk had to travel by crane high above power lines off Lake Drive before it was set down with precision on the back of a flatbed tractor trailer by crane operator Josh Harris of First State Crane out of Felton.

The monument was then driven to Legislative Mall, where it will become the centerpiece of the new Delaware Fire Service Memorial to be located on the southeast side of the lawn, adjacent to the Delaware Law Enforcement Memorial.

Dan Burris, of Middletown, is a member of the Monument Committee for the Delaware Volunteer Firefighter’s Association.

He was pleased to see the memorial successfully moved to its new home near the state capitol back in April.

“It was great,” Mr. Burris said. “That was a little bit of history moving and we’re updating the Fallen Firefighter’s Memorial, it’s all good.

“It’s going to be a nice tribute to somebody who has lost their life in the line of duty while fighting a fire.”

For Brooke Lloyd, Wednesday’s project was quite personal. After all, her father and grandfather were responsible for putting the old monument up near Mirror Lake in 1971.

Ms. Lloyd, a fourth-generation member of the Lloyd Memorials family business, watched in amazement as the monument was hoisted above the power lines.

“That’s crazy,” she said, while she was watching the old memorial get moved back in April. “You figure my father and grandfather moved it in 1971 and then, where it’s going now with my brother’s help and my help, to the other site where the new memorial is … you don’t see that very often. That thing is 22,000 pounds.

“I think (the DVFA) wanted a central location for all the firemen’s memorials, so I think they wanted the old (monument) to be the centerpiece of the new (monument), so we kind of built around this one with the new project over at Legislative Mall.”

The Delaware Fire Service Memorial Monument project, which pays tribute to all fire service members who died in the line of duty, was unanimously approved at the end of the 147th General Assembly on June 30, 2014.

The old monument had been maxed out of room to add more names than the roughly 40 that currently appear on it and its granite makeup is difficult and costly to alter.

The new memorial will finally change that.

The DVFA has constructed two walls with a flame around the old memorial to go along with a bronze statue of a firefighter bowing his head down in memory of the fallen.

“This joint resolution dedicates and allows an area (within) Legislative Mall to be used for the placement of a Delaware Fire Service Memorial to honor firefighters who lost their lives while serving the citizens of Delaware,” the resolution to build the new Fireman’s Memorial stated in 2014.

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