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Firefighters Memorial Park in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin
If you drive along Highway 54 on the West side of the Wisconsin River between Wisconsin Rapids and Port Edwards, Wisconsin you will find the Wisconsin State Firefighters Memorial. Governor Tommy Thompson authorized the memorial in 1996. No tax money was used to build it as it is completely funded by tax deductible donations. Fire Prevention Week was designated by the Wisconsin Legislature to be the week whne October 8 occurs. The Saturday of that week is the Wisconsin Firefighters Memorial Day. That week also is for remembrance of the Peshtigo Fire and the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, according to Wikipedia. Wisconsin Rapids was chosen over such places as Milwaukee and Madison because it is nearer the center of the state.
I was rather surprised that the memorial was set up in Wisconsin Rapids rather than one of the better-known cities in the state. However, our town is centrally located about half way between the Twin cities of Minnesota and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Funding the Memorial
Governor James Doyle signed a bill allowing Wisconsin income tax payers or those that file tax returns to donate money to the fund for the memorial. An annual motorcycle ride has been held since 2004 to raise money for a visitor’s center and to raie the money needed to maintain the center.
A statue of three life size firefighters rescuing another firefighter is the centerpiece of the park. There are benches with plaques commemorating individual firefighters. A tower with a firebell commemorates the bell historically used to sound a fire call. An American flag flies over the park.
Copyright 2011 Don Hoglund
Location of Firefighters Memorial
© 2011 Don A. Hoglund