FOP Lodge Dedicates Memorial to Fallen Officers

Local Lodge Worked Ten Years to Complete Project

(Harford County, Md) — After several years of fundraising and design, Harford County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #31 is proud to announce plans for the dedication of its Public Safety Memorial. The ceremony is slated for Saturday, May 22, 2004, at 2 p.m. at the Mary E.W. Risteau Multi-Service Center and District Courthouse. The event will take place rain or shine in the courthouse parking lot, located at the corner of South Bond and Thomas Streets, directly in front of the memorial. The public is welcome to attend. Representatives from the County’s public safety agencies, local dignitaries, and survivors of the fallen heroes listed on the memorial have also been invited. At least three honor guards are scheduled to participate in the service. Harford County Executive James M. Harkins, Harford County Sheriff R. Thomas Golding, and 93.1 WPOC News Director Aaron Rehkopf, a local volunteer firefighter, have been invited to speak.

According to FOP Lodge President Darryl Smith, “It has been a long, bumpy path as we labored to get the memorial built.” The Harford County Council through a proclamation offered the land for the memorial to the Fraternal Order of Police back in 1993. The only stipulations the Council required was that it be aesthetically compatible with the Multi-Service Center and that it be funded through private funds. Smith took over the Lodge in 1998 and made the memorial his top priority. However, it took another five years to see it completed. As Smith explains, “We went through several architects and builders. For some reason, the initial contractors never seemed to follow through.” Another reason it has taken so long is because of a lack of funding. Although several fundraising efforts were conducted contributions were sparse. In the end, the Lodge itself covered 95% of the project. “We couldn’t have done it without the help of our telemarketer, Dennis Marketing Group of Owing Mills,” Smith reports.

Groundbreaking for the memorial took place finally in 2003. Most of the work was done by fall, but then it was too late for a service. Over the past month, additional names were engraved and final landscaping was completed. Over several meetings architect David Stoker of Stoker Associates in Abingdon worked closely with the Lodge to draw up the design. The memorial is composed of Vermont granite built under a brick arch. Within an hour one day last summer a 100-ton crane was used to remove the 6-ton piece of granite from a flatbed and place it on the reinforced base. “Everything came together perfectly,” Smith exclaimed. Owner Steve Hughes of Hughes Memorial, Inc. oversaw engraving and delivery of the stone. Mike Ledwith of Houston’s Garden Center in Cockeysville coordinated crews and subcontractors as they built the brick arch, placed walkways, lights, and retaining walls around the memorial; and landscaped the site. The total cost of the memorial will be $60,000.

For additional information, you can contact the Lodge at 410-688-9542. Contributions can still be made to “Harford County Public Safety Memorial,” c/o FOP Lodge #31, Post Office Box 36, Bel Air, MD 21014.

Press Release

May 20, 2004