STOCKTON (CBS13) — There’s a push to bring back a memorial that honors Stockton firefighters who risked it all.
Earlier this year, the Stockton Fire Department’s memorial statue came down after repeated vandalism, but now there are plans to move it to a new, permanent location.
The site of where the statue used to be is surrounded by a fence and will still be a place for firefighters to host events, but the memorial’s new home is less than three miles away.
For the last six months, the Stockton Fre Department memorial statue has been kept inside an undisclosed storage unit – safe and far away from vandals.
“It’s a shame it was desecrated many times. They tried repairing it and securing it down, but I don’t know people would just tear it up,” said Kathleen Gapusan, who lives in Stockton.
Earlier this year, firefighters were forced to move the statue out of downtown Stockton after it was defaced and broken. They are now planning to bring it back but at a new location.
“These first responders are so selfless when they try to help us out and rescue and do all these life-saving things. If we can just keep it intact because it’s very disheartening to see all these beautiful sculptures and art pieces that we have and they just destroy them,” she said.
Firefighters are looking to move the statue to fire station six right next door to Victory Park. It’s a place where officials say the memorial will be monitored 24-7.
“Plans are being developed right now, and we also have to get a final approval from the city to move it there, and we also have to raise funds because it’s not going to be cheap,” said Jonathan Smith, battalion chief for the Stockton Fire Department.
The firefighters are hoping to raise at least $80,000 that will go towards helping move the memorial to its new home. The money raised will also be used to help maintain the statue.
“It’s important for the community; it’s important for our members that are retired, our active members. It’s basically, a healing process we went through about twenty years ago, and it’s very important to have that memorial back up,” he said.
In a couple of weeks, officials with the fire department say they will be unveiling a new fundraising campaign to help raise funds for their memorial.