Public Art in Kelowna – Tradition of Service

Tradition of Service

Tradition of Service

Brand new, and not on the official Public Art in Kelowna website yet is a bronze statue called Tradition of Service.   The Kelowna Fire Department unveiled the statue September 11, 2011, as part of the annual observance of the terrorist attacks on the United States.

I visited the installation in front of Station 1 on Enterprise Way between Dilworth and Leckie on Monday, September 12, 2011.  The memorial wreath was still there, and so was a sign listing businesses that had helped.

According to the press release:

… The Kelowna Firefighters’ memorial monument symbolizes the tradition of service provided by the Kelowna Fire Department over the last 106 years. The granite Maltese cross base provides the foundation for a brass statue of two firefighters and a child during a rescue. The likenesses depict Kelowna firefighters from a historical and present-day perspective. This memorial monument will serve to honour all Kelowna firefighters who have sacrificed in serving the citizens of this city.

“This year, we will mark the 10th year since the 9-11 terrorist attacks in New York claimed 343 firefighters and this occasion is a very fitting time to unveil the Kelowna Firefighters’ memorial monument,” says Kelowna Fire Chief Jeff Carlisle.

The coordinator for the monument project, Paid On-Call District Chief Rick Jennens, said this initiative has been 15 years in the making …

The statue is not without controversy.  CHBC TV reported on the unveiling and mentioned a letter to the editor which appeared in the Kelowna Capital News calling the firefighters “a joke.”

I was here in Kelowna for the Okanagan Mountain Park Fire in 2003.  Some 30,000 people were evacuated, including me, while the KFD and other firefighters kept the city from burning down and people from getting killed.  Running full speed toward a fire when everyone in their right mind is running away is not something I could do for a living.  I certainly respect and admire everyone who does it.

I think the real controversy here is that firefighters had to contribute even one cent to that statue, and that the project took 15 years.  It should have been taken care of by taxpayers, businesses, and private donations, and it should have been done at least six years ago.

Firefighters are heroes every single day they get out of bed and go to work.  We should recognize that.  That statue should be 90 feet tall.


Learn more about Public Art in Kelowna here.  You can grab a PDF with a list and a map at that same link.  Click on “Public Art” in the “What’s here” box on the right side of this page to see all the Public Art posts on the blog.  I hope eventually to blog about all the sites.


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