PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Wednesday, was a day to remember and one first responders can now revisit thanks to a new memorial in Port Charlotte.
For Charlotte County Commissioner, Stephen Deutsch, the unveiling of the First Responders Memorial at William R. Gaines Jr. Veterans Memorial Park shows the commitment Charlotte County has for the men and women who lay their lives on the line.
“We support, we revere, we love and we embrace our first responders,” said Deutsch.
The memorial features several monuments each honoring a different branch of first responders:
- Charlotte County Fire & EMS
- Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office
- Punta Gorda Fire Department
- Punta Gorda Police Department
- Englewood Area Fire Control District
Charlotte County Sheriff Bill Prummell, one of the many faces in attendance.
“Behind this badge is a heart like yours. I bleed. I think. I love. and yes I can be killed. And although I am but one man, I have thousands of brothers and sisters who are just like me. They will lay down their lives for me and I, them,” said Prummel.
Gaines park, dedicated to William Gaines Jr. a marine that was killed overseas during a military attack in 1983 runs along Edgewater Drive.
Funding for the First Responders Memorial was raised through efforts by the William R. Gaines Jr. Veteran Memorial Fund.
For many of the first responders, like Chief Jason Fair for the Charlotte County Public Safety Department, it's a reminder of why they do the job in the first place.
“Some occupations can be measured, the success can be measured using quantitative results of profits, productivity and customer satisfaction. But the success of a first responder can not be measured in a spreadsheet. The benchmarks of success for these men and women are the effect and the outcome of each call," said Fair.