Bricks are great building materials. They’re sturdy, consistent and reliable. As a matter of fact, they’re the perfect material for constructing a first responders’ memorial. Only because first responders – police, firefighters, paramedics, EMTs and dispatchers – are the foundation and the fabric of the Lebanon community.
Presently, there is a movement afoot to sell bricks to help fund Lebanon County’s proposed First Responders’ Memorial. The project, spearheaded by a group of local concerned citizens, will provide a great outlet for Lebanon County residents to show their support to dedicated individuals whose work is so vital to our safety and well-being.
“First responders get very little credit for what they do,” said Bruce Daub, president of the Lebanon County First Responders Memorial. “Sometimes they even get criticized. I think they deserve credit because credit is due. Most of the first responders in the area are volunteers. If we wouldn’t have the volunteers, the County would have to pay for them.”
Through the brick project, the organizers hope to raise as much money as they can for the funding of the First Responders’ Memorial, shooting for as much as $120,000 of the estimated $175,000 to $200,000 total cost. The bricks are priced at $100 for the four-inch-by-eight-inch ‘builders’ and $175 for the eight-inch-by-eight-inch ‘pavers.’ The bricks can be engraved by a laser with a short message, motto or emblem like a cross, a police badge or a fire helmet.
Although the fundraising project is still very much in the early planning stages, the organizers have already sold 26 bricks to date, and they’re hoping to sell as many as 2,000.
The bricks’ durability is guaranteed for life.
At a cost of about $30 per brick, the group is hoping that the profits made from their sale will provide the majority of the funding for the project. The organizers said that they have already received a number of donations from local businesses towards the project, but those efforts have been hindered by the on-going COVID-19 crisis.
“So far, we’ve mailed out 565 letters asking for donations, but we’ve only gotten maybe 10 or 15 back,” said Daub. “So far, we’ve not gotten a lot of support from the community, so we’ve got to get the word out to the community. We just need to reach out and get people to believe in it. It’s an idea that, once people hear about it, they’re willing to support it.”
The bricks will be utilized as part of the construction of the First Responders’ Memorial leading up to and inside the entrance to the new 911 Communications and Emergency Response Center, proposed for 1821 Cornwall Road in North Cornwall Township. The memorial will honor all local first responders who have served Lebanon County, but especially 25 individuals who lost their lives during the performance of that service over the last 125 years. The memorial will feature custom-made, smaller-scale statues of a police officer, a firefighter, a paramedic or EMT, a dispatcher, and a dog representing the contributions of local search and rescue teams. The memorial will also include plaques below the statues, outside benches and pillars, and will be accessible to the public.
“I think people are only aware of the work of first responders when they need them,” said Eileen Daub, secretary of the First Responders’ Memorial project. “It’s one of those things that people take for granted until something goes wrong, and they need people to be there. It’s not until they pick up the phone that they think about it. If you call 911, whoever’s on the end of the line is a first responder, and whoever they send to you is a first responder.”
Right now, the 1821 Cornwall Road site of the 911 Communications and Emergency Response Center is just an open farm field, and a vivid imagination is required to envision what the future construction will look like. Ground for the 911 Communications and Emergency Response Center could be broken as early as this spring, and construction on the center could be completed sometime during 2022.
The First Responders’ Memorial has received the blessings of the Lebanon County Commissioners, as well as politicians who represent Lebanon County in the Pennsylvania Senate and House of Representatives.
According to Bruce Daub, Pennsylvania and Hawaii are the only states in America that don’t have memorials dedicated to the service of firefighters.
“The brick project is something that we’ve seen to fund other memorials,” said Eileen Daub. “It came about to get people involved. It’s a way for people to leave their mark and to honor first responders.”
“It all started in June of 2020, during a camping trip in Cape May (New Jersey),” said Bruce Daub. “We saw Cape May County’s Public Safety Memorial, and it was absolutely beautiful. It gave me the idea, because we don’t have anything like that in Lebanon County.”
The Daubs are a first responder family.
Before officially retiring a couple of years ago, Bruce, a 72-year-old resident of the city, served Lebanon County as a firefighter, an EMT and a paramedic for more than 50 years. His two sons, Scott Daub and Michael Daub, are both career firefighters for the city of Lebanon.
“We want to brick the whole place,” said Eileen Daub. “We’re going to make room for as many as we sell. If we could sell enough bricks to pay for the statues, that would be great.”
“We want people to know that we exist,” said Bruce Daub. “We’re trying to get people’s attention. We want people to help us help the first responders.”
To purchase a brick or to donate to the First Responders’ Memorial project, interested citizens can mail a check to Bruce Daub, 1008 Laurel Street, Lebanon, PA, 17046, email Bruce at LebanonCountyFRM@gmail.com or call 717-821-5677.