Memorial honoring Harmony’s firefighters is moving forward

A five-foot bronze statue of a Harmony firefighter will be one of the focal points of the Harmony Fire Department memorial. SUBMITTED PHOTO

An artist created an image of the proposed memorial that will be located at the west entrance of the Harmony Fire Department station. SUBMITTED PHOTO
By : 
News Leader

What started out as an idea to honor Harmony’s firefighters, past and present, has been gaining traction and will hopefully become a reality next summer.

“I guess this all started last year when Dad passed away,” said Stuart Morem, who has been a member of the Harmony Fire Department for 43 years. Morem was referring to his father, Dean, who also served on the local department for more than four decades.

The Morem family has been well represented on the Harmony Fire Department over the past century. Stuart’s grandfather, Arnold, was a member of the fire department, as was Stuart’s father, Dean, uncle Richard and Stuart’s two sons, Kyle and Craig.

Morem shared his idea with Chris Skaalen, another veteran of the local fire department for 35 years. Like Morem, Skaalan has two sons on the department, Alex and James. Stuart and Chris enlisted the services of landscape designer Jason Resseman of Lanesboro and came up with the concept to make the visitors’ side of the fire hall more attractive with a circular memorial.

The memorial will consist of a center concrete area emblazoned with the Firefighter Maltese Cross in red. At the center of the memorial, on a raised pedestal, will stand a nearly life-sized bronze statue of a firefighter.

“The statue will be unique to Harmony, as the company that will be producing the statue will use photos of one of our members dressed in turnout gear with a helmet and self-contained breathing apparatus,” Skaalen explained.

In addition to the statue, the memorial will include four benches with three kiosks, similar to the ones that were recently installed on the Harmony sidewalks for the historic walking tour. Two of the kiosks will document the history of the century-old fire department. The third kiosk will list the various individuals, organizations and businesses that donated to the memorial.

The Maltese cross will be an inlaid Cambric material, which will never fade or chip. The statue will be made of bronze and custom-made by a company located in Kimball, Minn.

“Going with the bronze statue and the Cambric material increased the cost of the memorial,” Morem noted. “But we wanted something that was going to last for many generations to come.”

The final estimate for the memorial is $65,000. The memorial committee is currently raising funds from current and past firefighters, as well as families of those who served but are no longer living. The committee is also soliciting area businesses and corporations that utilize the fire protection the fire department provides. Skaalen said the response has been fantastic.

The fire department was able to use a $5,000 donation from the former Big Springs Lutheran Church and also a $10,000 donation from the Harmony Area Community Foundation (HACD).

In addition, the HACF will provide an additional matching grant of up to $10,000 for all donations received through Sept. 30.

“So now is the time for folks interested in supporting this project to donate,” Skallen said. “For every dollar they donate, those dollars will be doubled.”

Checks should be made out to the HACF and can be dropped off at First Southeast Bank of Harmony or Morem’s Electric. Large drawings of the proposed memorial will be on display at the local bank.

The committee hopes to have secured sufficient funding by the end of September to order the bronze statue, which will take about six months to complete. Plans are for the physical work to begin next spring, with completion by the end of the summer in 2019. The committee hopes to utilize as much volunteer labor on the project as possible.

Persons can also view the plans on the Harmony Chamber of Commerce and Harmony Volunteer Firefighters Facebook pages.