Sept. 30 – The first step to honoring Minnesota’s fallen bravest is a quarter of the way to completion, but there are only a few months left to raise the $600,000 needed to build the Minnesota Fallen Firefighter’s Memorial.
As of Friday, project organizer George Esbensen said the effort has brought in over $150,000 — or 25 percent of the money needed.
The initial phase of the campaign asked each of Minnesota’s 20,000 firefighters to donate $30 by December 31. The early response has been promising, Esbensen said. Many of the donations made by fire departments, or firefighters as individuals, are over the recommended $30 amount.
But while many departments have already contributed, there’s still a significant number of departments that have yet to participate.
Esbensen and others have been traveling around the state to local and regional fire organizations and departments to discuss the memorial and the group’s efforts.
“While we’re building on that great start by launching an awareness campaign with the public, we’re still hoping that the majority of this worthwhile project will be funded by firefighters, for firefighters,” Esbensen told Twin Cities Fire Wire.
He says that there are other ways that firefighters can help promote the program to the public, including letting them know about a new website, www.mnfireservicefoundation.org, which anyone can use to make a donation and learn more about the project. “It’s a great tool geared toward individual donors and the citizens.”
In another effort, the foundation has printed several hundred thousands of flyers that are available to departments to distribute in their community. “They can leave them with local businesses or other locations where the public may be interested in making a donation,” he offered.
Several fire departments have gone beyond raising money from within the ranks and looked outside for additional efforts.
In Chanhassen, firefighters pledged to run a boot drive outside of a Byerly’s supermarket for five weekends. With three weekends down, Esbensen said they are having great success.
The Rockford Lion’s Club offered to match the sum of the money raised by the Rockford Fire Department.
The Savage Fire Department requested 7,000 flyers to handout as they prepare for their annual door-to-door fund raising events.
“With fire prevention week open houses coming up, that’s the perfect opportunity to reach the public and let them know about the effort.” If departments need flyers, they can contact Chief Esbensen at: email@example.com.
“The campaign is really gaining momentum, and I hope that the fire departments that have been giving spread the word to other departments — and the public — to encourage them to get involved, as well,” he said.
- Minnesota Fire Service Foundation’s New Website
- Minnesota Fire Service Foundation on Facebook
- Download the flyer: Firefighter Memorial Brochure (PDF takes a moment to download)
- Foundation is Seeking Funds for Fallen Firefighter Memorial
You can send donations to:
Minnesota Fire Service Foundation
c/o Flagship Bank
7525 Office Ridge Road
Eden Prairie, MN 55344-3644