By KATHY SCHMUGGE
COLUMBIA — Firefighters who have died in the line of duty received a permanent commemoration when the Fallen Firefighter Memorial Plaza and Monument were dedicated on Aug. 28.
The ceremony featured a hymn sung by Msgr. Joseph Roth, who also offered a benediction for the event and read the names of the fallen firefighters. His hymn is engraved in the plaza beneath the eternal flame. Msgr. Roth is the state chaplain for the SC State Association of Fire Chiefs.
The project was a collaboration between the State Association of Fire Chiefs, the State Legislature, the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, and a number of South Carolina firefighter and emergency service organizations.
Over 400 people attended the memorial, including fire service dignitaries, family members of the 48 South Carolina firefighters who have died in the line of duty.
During the ceremony, Gov. Jim Hodges and Lesslie Fire Department Chief Jerry Williams unveiled the centerpiece of the new memorial: a life-size bronze sculpture of a firefighter carrying a child.
The principle sculptor is John Brodin, an artist and a 26-year career law enforcement officer.
The monument took about five years to create. It is located at 141 Monticello Road.