Lodi Fire Foundation begins raising funds for memorial statue

An artist’s rendering by NJA Architecture shows a proposed bronze memorial statue that the Lodi Fire Foundation hopes to purchase and install at Fire Station 1. Two fundraisers this week will help the foundation purchase the statue. (Courtesy)

One of the goals of the recently-established Lodi Fire Foundation is to raise funds for a memorial statue outside Station 1 on Elm Street.

This week, Capt. Steve Bender told the Lodi Arts Commission the endeavor is fairly expensive, with a price tag of $36,400 to build, ship and deliver from out of state.

Bender said he hoped the commission could allocate some funding to help pay for the costs.

“We are currently doing fundraising,” he said. “The statue takes anywhere from five to six months to build and comes out of Arizona. At end of the day it’s a public viewing. It would be at Station 1 so that everyone could look at while they walk to Downtown.”

The statue would be made of bronze and stand 6 feet, 2 inches tall, to be installed on a concrete pedestal, facing Elm Street in front of Station 1, he said.

The names of four Lodi firefighters who have lost battles with cancer would be engraved somewhere on the memorial. There will be room to add more, but Bender said hopefully that will not have to happen.

Commission chair Cathy Metcalf said the Arts in Public Places fund, which contributes dollars to various projects in Lodi, would not be able to fund the entire cost of the memorial and its installation.

“It’s a fabulous idea and it’s great you were able to form the foundation,” she said. “It will help you guys a lot, I think. But just because where our funds are right now, I just feel like, there's a possibility after a discussion we might be interested in putting some money toward the statue. I don't know if paying that much for one thing is what we've been doing.”

There are two fundraisers scheduled for the next week aimed at raising funds for the Lodi Fire Foundation, the first of which is at Honey Treat Yogurt, 201 W. Lodi Ave., on Sunday. During the fundraiser, Honey Treat will donate 20% of the day’s intake to the foundation.

The second fundraiser is a drive-thru tri-tip dinner at the First Baptist Church, 267 N. Mills Ave., next Friday.

Bender said the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a wrench in the foundation’s fundraising efforts and the ability to form some sort of partnerships, but he is confident it will be able to raise what is needed to purchase the statue.

The commission said it would further study the foundation’s proposal and discuss possibly funding part of the statue’s installation.

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