OSWEGO, NY â€“ The Oswego Common Council paved the way Monday night for a firefightersâ€™ memorial.
Councilors approved the Fire Departmentâ€™s request to use public space on the west side of the Eastside Fire Station, on the grass between the station and the walking path, for construction of a firefightersâ€™ memorial including a flagpole, decorative pavers and benches.
â€œWeâ€™re probably not going to break ground until the spring,â€ Fire Chief Jeff McCrobie told Oswego County Today.com â€œWeâ€™re trying to get an architectâ€™s design for it and leave it so we can keep adding benches on to it.â€
Business and the public can sponsor sections in honor of a firefighter, living or deceased, the chief said.
â€œWe want it to be something that we can keep adding on to; with the benches for (recently departed) Chief Beauchene and (firefighter) Scott Davis â€¦ maybe some day, Iâ€™ll have one,â€ McCrobie said.
â€œA lot of people walk that way, look at the mural (on the west wall of the station). We want to take our time. Tentatively, maybe we can unveil it on 9-11 next year. We did a private memorial for 9-11 this year with just our department with our chaplain. It was good; a couple guys spoke about people they knew who were lost on 9-11. Next year is the 10th anniversary, so it will be different. With this memorial, maybe that would be a good day to unveil it,â€ the chief continued.
The planned memorial will augment the monuments in front of the station, not detract, he said.
â€œNothing is going to be moved. Nothing is going to be changed. But, this is going to be there, too. The flag will be lit all the time. Weâ€™re pretty excited about it,â€ he said.
This is a firefightersâ€™ project and will be done at no cost to the taxpayers, he added.
The memorial will be located near the John D. Murray Fire Museum, which honors the fire department and Chief Murray who served the department for 37 years, 16 as chief.
Chief Murray served the people of the city of Oswego starting his work in fire department in 1940 and rising steadily through the ranks, attaining the rank of Fire Chief in 1961.
Chief Murray, who retired in 1977, had a way with most of the men and was well appreciated.
In 1971, Chief Murray became president of the New York State Chief’s Association and served until 1972.
In 1994, the fire museum was started and named in his honor.
The history of the department started in 1876, when the city saw the need to change from many volunteer units to one paid fire department.
In 1994, several of the firefighters formed a committee to preserve their heritage and the dream of a fire museum was developed.
Later a board of directors was formed. The men involved in this endeavor were Dick Ackerman, Tom Amedio, Hank Babcock, Bill Crego, Bob Clark, Richard Cummings, Tom Jones, Jack Saddington, David Thompson and Bruce Turner.
Community members donated scrapbooks and collections, helping the departmentâ€™s past to reappear.
The museum features three fire trucks – a 1925 LaFrance, a 1939 LaFrance and a 1952 Mack pumper.
For more information, visit oswegonyfiremuseum.com