It was mid-summer of 2017, when discussion were held with Chief Lee Stevens, Chief 1, and myself in regards to the need to have the memorial plan become a reality. At this point Chief Stevens handed the project over for completion and oversight out of my office. When the project was approved to move on we went out and made contact with local Boy Scout Troop 32. We were very lucky to have a grandson of a previous South Metro Fire Department member, Robby Keays, accept the challenge for his own Eagle Scout project. We decided to have several pre meetings to make sure, his Eagle Scout project would be followed correctly, and that his focus would be to create, and provide the walkway for the memorial grounds. When the first meeting was done, we nicknamed his portion of the memorial project, “Paving the Way.”
During the bidding process, it was very important for us to ensure that the contractors were willing to work with the Boy Scouts, and provide a learning and teaching experience, as well as allow the leadership skills they needed to portray. We picked KC Hardscapes to provide the building of the wall, and custom walkway maltase. The rest of the walkway for the memorial site Robby Keays and his Boy Scout troop were responsible for laying the pattern. The scouts project start date was in November of 2017, with their portion completed in less than a week. This included not only assisting with the pouring of concrete, floating the concrete and even how to run the concrete truck. Robby Keays was able to provide all walkway bricks that are in the memorial site, by securing a donation from a local supplier.
The commission of the bronze memorial statue sitting in the middle of the Maltese cross was initiated in October of 2017 by Liberty Artworks located in Dutzow, Missouri. A delivery time of the middle of April of 2018 was quoted. This statue has a custom shield designed especially for the department.
All the granite was donated to the memorial by the Freeman Monument Co. They provided all the detail, and inscriptions to specifications and this also included the setting of the monument stones.
Granite Benches were paid for by local donations from the Raymore, and Peculiar Communities, and their names are inscribed in honor on these benches.
When we started this process I had gone out to many of the contractors that have been loyal to the fire district in services rendered in the past. We are and have been very humbled in the reaction of support and pure donation of product, and or services to assist us. All ground work for the memorial was donated. This included plants, trees, and day of memorial tents, and carpet. All concrete coring was also donated, all granite was donated, all pavers for the walkway were donated per Robby Keays and his efforts through Troop 32 here in Raymore. Even the assistance to help set the 500lb bronze statue in place was donated by equipment and time.
Our memorial honors and memorializes several groups of people. We needed to honor our past with past board members, and our fifteen year plus retirees, which you will see in the pictures with our department emblem. The other tablet honors those that we have lost on the department either by active duty, meaning not on duty but just outside the line of duty criteria, and in the line of duty, which we have only one member we have lost as noted Chris Tindall. We hope to never add another name to that tablet. This memorial tablet has the flag with the thin red line.
The dedication date was June 26, 2018, and was held on grounds with approximately 150-200 people in attendance. Ceremonies started, at 10:00 a.m. with the order of events as noted below.
- National Anthem by local resident from Ray Pec School District Chely Stratton.
- Dedication speech by Fire Chief Lee Stevens.
- Presentation of monuments.
- Roll call of honor by Assistant Chief John King.
- Closing remarks by Deputy Chief Robert Norman.
After the ceremony was completed we provided refreshments in the training building behind headquarters.
To finish with remarks it should be noted that we have provided a 20×20 plaque located on a stone pedestal that thanked the people responsible for the assistance and donations to make this all happen. It was important that our fire district made sure the community had a sense of ownership in this project as well since it means so much to so many.
We are currently doing inscriptions in the memorial walkway for $125 per brick, and I will attach a copy of the form we use for the community involvement purchases. The funding from the bricks will assist with the upkeep of the grounds, and any needed foliage changes. Thank you for considering us for the paper, it would have been great to have had you with us.