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Retired Firefighters Donate Time to Paint Freedom Memorial

Retired Firefighters Donate Time to Paint Freedom Memorial

Members of the Gulf Coast Retired Firefighters Association give the Freedom Memorial its first coat of paint Wednesday morning at Freedom Park in Naples. [AP]

Naples Daily News via YellowBrix

April 08, 2010

NAPLES, FL — When it comes to paint, they’ve got it covered. But, money is a different story.

Members of the Gulf Coast Retired Firefighters Association gave the Freedom Memorial a coat of primer and paint Wednesday at Freedom Park in Naples. The Freedom Memorial Task Force raised $450,000 to erect the concrete American flag in Fall 2009, but still needs between $1.2 and $1.5 million to finish the project. The monument is a tribute to members of the military as well as to those who died on 9/11.

“I stand here and get goose bumps and choked up seeing how far we’ve come,” said Jerry Sanford, North Naples Fire public information officer and a retired New York City firefighter. “I hope the community will continue to be kind in donating the remaining money.”

In a troubled economy, Sanford knows a million dollar price tag is hard to digest, but is hopeful they can raise the funds by September 2011 ‹ just in time for the 10 year anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center.

The monument will eventually be covered in granite, but until then the retired firefighters decided beige paint would look better than concrete gray. Sanford said he thinks the cleaner look will be better for the park that is visible from Golden Gate Parkway.

Collier County project manager Claude Nesbitt said the group thought about painting the flag in red white and blue instead of beige, but decided against it because it would look too complete.

“They didn’t want anyone to think that they were done or the effort (to finish the project) was over,” Nesbitt said.

To donate to the Freedom Memorial go to

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