Remembering the brave men and women who serve and protect Arkansans
The Arkansas Fallen Firefighters Memorial is dedicated to the memories of the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice and gave their lives in the line of duty. The project was initiated at the annual Firefighters Convention in 1985.
At first, the project gained momentum slowly. When Johnny Reep was appointed to the Arkansas Fallen Firefighters Memorial board in 1994, there was only $3,900 in available funding.
The tragic deaths of three firefighters in a warehouse explosion on May 8, 1997 in West Helena, Arkansas, lent new urgency to the desire for a memorial to those firefighters who have sacrificed their lives to protect others.
Board members began working to build a memorial to their fallen brothers and sisters. In 1999, the board sent letters to 36 architectural firms requesting a bid for the memorial project. Of the 36 firms that were contacted, only two responded. One response indicated that the architectural firm thought the memorial was a good idea, but that they were too busy to approach the project at that time.
This is a way I can spend my time and what abilities I have to say thank you"
The second response was from Brooks Jackson, founding member of Jackson Brown Palculit Architects. Mr. Jackson's grandfather, James Brooks Jackson with the Pulaski County Sheriff's Office, was killed in the line of duty on December 28, 1941.
Mr. Jackson told the board that for him this was a dream come true, and an opportunity to give back to the community in memory of his grandfather.
With the selection of an architectural firm, the next step was to provide a design for the memorial statues. Artist Paula Haskins, wife of Black River Fire Science Instructor Alan Haskins of BRTC Fire Academy in Pocahontas, was asked to create a design for the memorial statues. Her vision for the statues can be seen in the sketch at the left.
Once the design was finalized, a bill was brought before the state Legislature to secure a location for the Arkansas Fallen Firefighters Memorial on the grounds of the state Capitol. The bill passed in March, 2001, and awaited the signature of the Governor. Mr. Jackson presented Governor Mike Huckabee with a color design for the proposed memorial.
The Arkansas Fallen Firefighters Memorial design features four statues: "Old Leather Lungs", representing the origins of firefighters; "The Angel of Mercy", representing paramedic firefighters; "On the Line", representing wild land and forestry firefighters; and "Pushin' In", which represents modern day firefighters. The center statue and fountain are known as the Win Rockefeller Fountain of Faith.
The statues were created by acclaimed sculptor Robert P. Daus, owner of Liberty Art Works in Dutzow, Missouri. Mr. Daus is a retired St. Louis firefighter. Together with his family, Mr. Daus created the eleven-and-a-half foot tall set of four statues for the Arkansas Fallen Firefighters Memorial
Tireless fundraising for the Arkansas Fallen Firefighters Memorial project continued for the next several years. Led by the late Lt. Governor Win Rockefeller who served as the finance chairman for the memorial board, funds for the memorial grew through a combination of cash, CDs, fundraising events, and construction donations. A generous pledge of $100,000 from Lt. Governor Rockefeller's widow, Lisenne Rockefeller, and another pledge of $75,000 from Wal-Mart enabled the board to contract with East Harding General Contractors to begin construction on the memorial.
The Arkansas Fallen Firefighters Memorial groundbreaking ceremony was held on March 23, 2013. The completed memorial was dedicated on March 22, 2014. Be sure to mark your calendar for the annual Fallen Firefighters Memorial Ceremony held on the last Saturday of March each year.
By The Numbers
If this memorial does anything, it ensures that the names of those who were killed in the line of duty in Arkansas will not be forgotten."
To pay the construction costs of $1.2 million dollars, dozens of corporations and foundations were joined by hundreds of individuals and Arkansas Fire Departments in a unique display of fund raising that ranged from 81 cents from a young boy in Grapevine, $3.45 from a convenience store cashier in Little Rock, to two gifts of $100,000 each.
Honoring Major Contributors
As an expression of sincere gratitude for their extraordinarily generous contributions, the Arkansas Fallen Firefighters Memorial has named two vital components of the memorial in honor of these individuals:
WIN ROCKEFELLER FOUNTAIN OF FAITH
The late Lt. Gov. Win Rockefeller served as the finance chairman for the Arkansas Fallen Firefighters Memorial. Lt. Gov. Rockefeller, well known for his tireless philanthropic work, made a very generous pledge of support for the memorial.
The fountain is integrated within the fire nozzle held by the center statue "Pushin' In", honoring modern day firefighters. It is with great pleasure and deepest gratitude that this fountain is named the Win Rockefeller Fountain of Faith and dedicated to the memory of Lt. Gov. Rockefeller and his widow, Lisenne.
BROOKS JACKSON MEMORIAL PLAZA
The architectural firm Jackson, Brown, Palculict, designers of the Arkansas Fallen Firefighters Memorial, provided an extremely generous in-kind donation toward the completion of the project. Brooks Jackson is the grandson of James Brooks Jackson, who served in law enforcement as the superintendent of the Pulaski County Prison Farm. James Brooks Jackson was fatally shot in the line of duty December 28, 1941.
In addition to the Arkansas Fallen Firefighters Memorial, Brooks Jackson also designed a memorial at Arkansas State Police headquarters honoring fallen troopers.
Mr. Jackson is dedicated to honoring the sacrifice of the men and women who protect and serve the people of the state of Arkansas. It is with great pride and sincere thanks that the Arkansas Fallen Firefighters Memorial is located in the Brooks Jackson Memorial Plaza.
Video Slideshow: AFF Memorial
Slideshow theme song "All In" by Brad Paisley from the Disney Pixar film "Planes: Fire & Rescue"