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Respect LifeThe Respect Project is dedicated to Firefighters & Police

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“Respect Project” Takes Shape By Randy Conat

Burton — (09/11/03)– Work continues on the construction of a police and fire memorial in Burton. ABC12’s Randy Conat reports an idea talked about for years is finally taking shape.

A welding shop in Flint has been a busy place for the past year. A stainless steel figure of a police officer looks on while work continues on a similar-looking fire fighter.

The two silhouettes, both more than seven feet tall, will stand with their heads bowed at the Burton City Hall complex in a tribute to those who those who protect and serve.

Although the monument had been discussed before the events of September 11th, the attacks became one more reason to see the idea through to completion.

“This is about some of the sadness police officers and fire fighters encounter during their tours of duty. It’s about respect for their professions. That’s why we call this project the Respect Project,” said sculpton Dennis Gardner.

Both figures weigh more than 200 pounds. They’ll be filled with sand when they’re set up for display. About 100 man hours have been spent on the project.

The stainless steel can be demanding, even for an experienced welder. “It’s been quite a challenge forming the stainless steel into the silhouettes,” Dennis said.

Even though the sculpting is nearly done, it’s not clear as to when the figures will be put up. A lot of fund raising needs to be done in order to build the foundation they’ll stand on.

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Respect Project is dedicated to Firefighters & Police

Funds roll in for tribute sculpture – Original Scanned Copy


Burton – The city with a reputation for memorializing military veterans is on its way to recognizing police officers and firefighters, too.

The Burton police and fire departments have raised about $5,000 toward their $30,000 goal to pay for a pair of 7-foot statues recognizing police and firefighters.

The statues are to be erected on the hill in front of Burton police headquarters, putting them not far from the veterans monument.

Fire Chief Doug Halstead said the statues will act as a reminder of the difficult and dangerous jobs police and fire personnel do each day for the communities they serve.

“You’ve seen a lot of memorials to honor dead police officers and firefighters since Sept. 11,” he said. “What we wanted to have was something to let the people doing the job now know how much we appreciate their service.

“You’ve got to let them know, while they’re around to see it, how much we appreciate them being out there laying their lives on the line.”

The two statues, called the “Respect Project,” will be 3-inch thick silhouette-like representations of a firefighter and police officer bowing their heads.

Several local businesses have committed money to the project, and the fire department is selling engraved bricks leading to the statues.

Dennis Gardner, owner of Welding Plus in Flint, is creating the statues with Halstead. Both are retired Flint firefighters.

Gardner and artist Ron Gallock came up with the idea more than a decade ago.

“There’s a sadness you feel after a fire where you realize what has happened, and we wanted to express that somehow in a sculpture,” Gardner said. “I wasn’t aware of the city’s great (veterans) memorial when I talked to Doug about this, and he liked the idea.

“I’m happy to be doing this after kicking it around for years and years.”

City Councilman Bob Centilli, a building contractor, has signed on to help prepare the area surrounding the statues, which some hope can be placed in time for a dedication on or around Sept. 11.

“It’s a beautiful memorial, and it’s something we need because it’s for all the people serving right now,” he said. “It’ll be special, but it’s also not going to take away from the veterans memorial that’s right near there.”

Chad Swiatecki covers the Burton and Davison areas. He can be reached at (810) 766-6237 or
© 2003 Flint Journal. Used with permission

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Respect Project is dedicated to Firefighters & Police

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memorial1Flint — (10/15/02)–They’ve been very busy inside a Flint garage for the past few months. Two men are working on a project they hope people will appreciate for years to come.

abc12’s Randy Conat reports says they’ve been doing a lot of metal cutting and polishing lately. Two retired Flint fire fighters have been working together on two sculptures to honor police officers and fire fighters.
The project is called Respect. Retired Flint fire fighters Dennis Gardner and Ron Gallock first thought about this tribute eight years ago.

“We were sitting around the fire stations, bantering around ideas. This one kept repeating itself. We had to do it,” said Gardner.

At first, the project would show a lone fire fighter with head bowed. Burton police officers said they’d like the tribute to include a police officer. So now two stainless steel figures will stand on a hillside at the Burton City Hall complex.

“This will have a nice, eye-popping shine that will last forever,” Gardner said

Gallock designed the figures. He wants the project to honor fire fighters and police officers, both living and dead. Gallock says the Respect tribute has been a labor of love. “We enjoy it very much. We’ll have something that will stand for a long time,” Gallock said.

The silhouettes stand about seven and a half feet tall. A black wall will be erected behind the sculptures. They should be dedicated on Memorial Day next year.

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Welding Plus, Inc. | P.O. Box 4001 | Flint, Mi. 48504 | Phone: (810) 234-0898