Fireman’s Memorial gets new home on Legislative Mall

Lloyd Memorials and First State Crane coordinated a project to move the Delaware Fire Service Memorial Monument from its spot along Mirror Lake, where it has sat for 47 years, to a new location near Legislative Hall Wednesday. (Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh)

DOVER — People driving and walking down Loockerman Street near Mirror Lake at around 11:30 Wednesday morning might have thought they saw a concrete rocket blasting off to the skies.

That wasn’t the case.

Rather, it was Lloyd Memorials and First State Crane moving the old Delaware Fire Service Memorial Monument from the base that it has sat on since 1971. It turned out to be quite a tedious task that took nearly four-and-a-half hours to accomplish.

Brooke Lloyd smiles after workers from First State Crane successfully lifted the fireman’s memorial onto a flatbed truck so it can be moved to its new location near Legislative Hall.

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 a 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.

“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.”

Mr. Burris expects the official unveiling of the new Delaware Fire Service Memorial will take place sometime in June.

The city of Dover has not yet announced any future plans for the now vacant spot of the old monument.

Brooke Lloyd talks about the history of the monument, which her father and grandfather placed 47 years ago.

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. “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.”

Ms. Lloyd is intrigued by one component of the old memorial — the contents of a time capsule that her father put inside the monument back in 1971.

“I don’t know if we’re going to pop it open yet or not — we’ll have to see,” she said.

For First State Crane, it was the second “different” job that its workers have experienced in Dover over the course of the last two weeks.

Just last week, they were responsible for placing a replica of NASCAR driver Aric Almirola’s Monster Energy Series race car high into the awaiting grasp of Miles the Monster, the mascot of Dover International Speedway, at the track’s Fan Zone.

“It was a unique job,” said Mr. Harris, of Felton, who guided the firefighter’s monument over the power lines. “It wasn’t necessarily that challenging, it was just going over the top of power lines and stuff, but you’ve got to be on the ball.”

Paul Waddell, the systems operations and electrical engineering superintendent for the city of Dover, said the project took a little longer than anticipated because workers rarely have to turn off the power in that part of the city.

The project eventually took flight — literally.

“They hired us to do the job and make sure it gets done right, with the help of First State Crane,” Ms. Lloyd said. “Everything has to be on point and I think everything worked out well.”

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

The new memorial will finally change that.

The DVFA plans to construct 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 stated.

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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