WESTFIELD – First responders, civic leaders and community members gathered Saturday in Westfield to dedicate a tribute to the village’s fire and police departments.
The tribute, which sits at the site of the community’s first fire department, is an eight-foot-tall, four-ton stone and metal structure with four plaques.
President of the Westfield Except Volunteer Fire Association Alan Holbrook said he was overwhelmed by the large number of people who came out to support the departments.
“I think it is fitting because the purpose of the tribute is to honor past, present and future first responders and it shows that the community recognizes them and appreciates them,” said Holbrook. “I think they (local first responders) are somewhat humbled by the tribute itself and the fact that people would care enough to recognize their efforts.”
In total there are four sides to the tribute, one side with two hands holding the Westfeild Police and Fire Department badges, a side with the policeman’s prayer, a side with the fireman’s prayer and a plaque dedicated to all first respon ders.
“We certainly do a lot of great dedications and memorials to those famous people who are household names, but this is special because this is for those folks whose names we may never have known, that have sacrificed their lives, that have gotten up in the middle of the night, that have responded to those 911 calls and have showed up to save the lives and defend the property of folks they didn’t know,” said Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello.
In the coming months crews are scheduled to finish a brick patio under the structure and build a fence between the parking lot and memorial.
The community met in the summer of 2017 to discuss the feasibility of the project. Funding was raised through a GoFundMe account. Project leaders say tribute bricks are still for sale. Those interested can contact Sue Poster at 248-830-6058 or Marilyn Hemmer at 716-753-6043.
Officials said donations will go towards upkeep and maintenance of the park.