2017-08-02 / Front Page

Scout’s project honors firefighters

BY STEVEN KOVAC
810-452-2684 • skovac@mihomaper.com


Friday, July 28, marked the dedication of the new Firemen’s Memorial next to the firehall on S. Elk Street. The monument is the result of an Eagle Scout project of Sandusky High School senior Josh Gomez. 
Photo by Rochelle Rich Friday, July 28, marked the dedication of the new Firemen’s Memorial next to the firehall on S. Elk Street. The monument is the result of an Eagle Scout project of Sandusky High School senior Josh Gomez. Photo by Rochelle Rich A new monument to memorialize the contributions and sacrifices of 13 former Sandusky firefighters was officially dedicated at a ceremony Friday, July 28.

The memorial is located just off the sidewalk next to the south wall of the firehall at 161 S. Elk Street.

The young man behind the design and construction is 17-year-old Boy Scout Josh Gomez of Sandusky.

The community service project is for his Eagle Scout badge.

“Considering what my friends in the fire department do for us, I thought it important to get them a memorial out there,” said Gomez, an Explorer Scout involved with Sandusky Fire Department for the last several years.

“It’s something we have wanted to see for a long time,” said Sandusky Fire Chief Todd Hillman.


Josh Gomez Josh Gomez “The fire department wanted it,” said Gomez, “and I needed an Eagle Scout project, so I decided to step up and said to the Chief, ‘Let’s do this.’”

Gomez continued, “The Chief had his ideas for the design and I had my ideas. Everything just came together. The exact plans kind of evolved over time.”

The names of the remembered

13 firefighters, including one who gave his life in the line of duty, are inscribed on a plaque in the center of the semi-circle of decorative landscaping blocks. A flag representing each name on the plaque adorns the top of the wall. Two stone benches flank the circle of decorative concrete and sidewalk leading up to the monument from the street.

Though he was there to lend a hand with every aspect of construction, Gomez credits the help and support he received from fire department members and his fellow scouts.

“Members of my Troop 333 put in two work days,” explained Gomez. “I also appreciate Gordie Williams for donating his skill, as well as the cement. Howard Schomaker did the electrical work.”

City Council member and Fire Association secretary Ginny Bissett, who was at the dedication, said, “We had about 50 to 55 people in attendance. The memorial is beautiful. Very emotional. It hits you emotionally to honor those fire people who have gone on. Many people donated labor and supplies. It’s in a very visible location.”

Josh, a senior at Sandusky High School, is a percussionist in the Redskins Marching Band. His favorite subjects are Art and Language Arts. He paints in oils and draws with colored pencils, and is an accomplished writer.

He has won several awards for his drawings, paintings, writings, and photography from organizations such as Sanilac County 4-H and the First Impressions competition.

Josh began his scouting career in first grade as a Cub Scout under Den Leader Orin Campbell, and eventually as a Boy Scout under Scoutmaster Steve Pailing.

Josh’s father, Paul Rich, said of his son, “He is an outstanding kid. His project is a real tribute to people who have served our community.”

His mother, Rochelle, commented, “Josh is a quiet, unassuming, determined, and hardworking young man. His compassion and integrity are driving factors in making his goals a reality. We are very proud of him.”

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