The Rocky Mount-Franklin County First Responders Commission has set its dedication service for the memorial that honors fallen first responders.

The service will be held Saturday, Sept. 12, at 11 a.m. The main feature, a three-sided engraved granite obelisk, features portraits of fallen first responders, first responder emblems and artwork by Freda Nichols showing three branches of first responders standing shoulder-to-shoulder. The memorial is surrounded by a brick walkway honoring local first responders.

“We encourage our communities to come out and show appreciation for our dedicated first responders in emergency medical services, firefighting and law enforcement,” said Commission Chair Matthew Hankins. “This important civic event is one that will show our love of our community and our first responders.”

The dedication service will accommodate appropriate social distancing.

The commission formed in the wake of a tragic 2010 fire truck crash that claimed the lives of Rocky Mount Fire Chief Posey Dillon and former Chief Danny Altice. Over the past 10 years, the commission has designed and raised funds to install a lasting memorial to the first responders whose lives have been lost in the line of duty. At the same time, the memorial grounds will honor the thousands of volunteer and paid firefighters, EMS and law enforcement officers who have served in the communities of Franklin County, Rocky Mount, Boones Mill and Ferrum.

The monument has been funded by a combination of private and public gifts. The Town of Rocky Mount and Franklin County each contributed $10,000, with additional funds coming from the Lights for Life campaign, private donors and local tourism funds. Family, friends and first responders can purchase a walkway brick to honor first responders who have served in Franklin County.

“This is a point of local pride,” said Commission Vice-Chair Charlie Robertson. “With its location at the Rocky Mount Public Safety Building on North Main Street, this memorial stands as a prominent reminder that our safety and security depend on dedicated professionals and volunteers whose first duty is to protect and serve their communities.”

The commission is still seeking donors to help support upkeep of the monument and develop its future phases, including flagpoles, benches and park features designed to support the park’s “peaceful, solemn, tranquil feel.”

“We appreciate the donors who have supported us so far and look forward to working with additional partners as we develop future phases,” said Commissioner B.W. Wright. “Businesses and individuals who wish to be a part of our work should contact one of the commissioners.”

Commissioner and Franklin County Public Safety Director Billy Ferguson has been working with department leaders to encourage friends and family to honor the service of first responders with an honorary brick.

“These bricks are a lasting reminder of the service and dedication they’ve shown,” said Ferguson. “Long after our ability to serve has passed, people will be able to see the dedication first responders have for the communities they love.”

“It’s hard to tell how many thousands of Franklin County residents have volunteered or worked for fire, EMS and law enforcement agencies,” said Commissioner Tommy Cundiff. “We really want folks to be a part of what we’re building here, showing what Franklin County can do when we all work together.”

Contributions to the memorial are tax-deductible. Contact commission secretary Cherie Compton at (540) 493-0907 to donate or contact commissioners.

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