Owen Curry, the 10-year-old son of a fallen firefighter, led Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet in breaking ground for a Capitol memorial honoring firefighters killed in the line of duty. Owen was 3 years old when his father John, a member of the Volusia County Wildland Fire Team, died after a pine tree fell on him.
Scott and the Cabinet passed a 2013 Resolution for a memorial at the state Capitol, partly in recognition of the lobbying efforts of Owen and his mom, Kristen.
“The firefighters and the families of firefighters here today accept our most sincere expression of profound gratitude for the sacrifice firefighters have made,” said Florida CFO Jeff Atwater, who also serves as state fire marshal. “In this place their names will always be present and their stories will always be told. If we fail to continually be mindful of the commitments of those who preceded us, those who gave all, we will do the entire arc of our shared history and potential a disservice.”
The memorial will be at the north end of the Capitol Plaza, between the Historic Old Capitol and the House Office Building. It will feature the names of 181 firefighters – six names from this year — who have died in the line of duty since 1885.
Four other memorials are already on the plaza: one for law enforcement officers, a marker honoring Martin Luther King, a tribute to Confederate soldiers and a marker for John Parkhill, an Army captain who died in 1857 fighting the Seminole Indians.