STOCKTON, Calif. (KTXL) -- Two new memorial tributes to firefighters were installed at the old fallen firefighter memorial site in downtown Stockton over the weekend.
“They work very hard,” neighbor Linda Hernandez said. “They work and put their life on the line every time they go to a fire.”
One of the granite inlays depicts the statue that was once there. The other is the Stockton Fire Department crest.
Stockton Fire Chief Ken Johnson said the space honors fallen firefighters.
“For those who have given what we call the ultimate sacrifice, who have lost their life in the line of service. We feel an obligation to remember them every year for the sacrifice and the service, for both them and their family’s loss,” Johnson said.
While the plaques and the statue are now gone, the Stockton Fire Department says the site is still hallowed ground.
Firefighters removed the old memorial in 2017 because of repeated vandalism. Parts of it had been destroyed and the statue had been graffitied and defaced.
“We knew we couldn’t protect it anymore,” Johnson said. “So we took the drastic measure of picking up from where it was."
The monument is now being kept in storage until it can be relocated to a new fallen firefighter memorial at Victory Park. The project is still in the works.
“I hope to have the kids be able to touch the memorial. It’s our way of connecting with the community and also in the hopes of maybe one of these young children want to be firefighters one day,” Johnson said.
It’s a place where Johnson said the fallen heroes will have the honor they deserve.
“It’s important to remember when you see these types of monuments, that there’s meaning and purpose behind them,” Johnson said. “And I would just say be respectful of those things.”
The fire department said it will be launching a fundraiser at a later date to help raise at least $75,000 for the new memorial.