SNEAK PEEK: Exclusive look at the Winn. Co. 9-11 Emergency Respo - – Rockford’s News Leader

SNEAK PEEK: Exclusive look at the Winn. Co. 9-11 Emergency Responders Memorial


The lights are on and construction is underway at Winnebago County's 9-11 Emergency Responders Memorial. As building goes on outside, an area artist is hard at work on the sculptures in her studio. 13 News was given an exclusive look at the pieces.

A fire fighter, an EMT and a police officer are coming to life inside Renee Bemis' studio. The three represent the area's first responders. They will stand at the Winnebago County 9-11 Emergency Responders Memorial behind steel from the World Trade Towers.

"It was my design in having them in the position they are," says Bemis. "The fire fighter, he is headed straight towards the steel basically his mission where no person is going in. The next person is the EMT. She's still running but she is sort of slowing down, her hand is extended. She is stopping to help either someone who is injured or has fallen down. The policeman is kind moving. He has one hand extended out saying you stay there, you go here. He kind has his hand out, he's sort of directing. So there are three different people doing different jobs but working together."

The three statues represent the 30 first responders Winnebago County has lost. Next month marks two years since the REACT medical helicopter crashed trying to reach a car accident killing the pilot and two emergency flight nurses.

"All these emergency services give everyday, they are always there when people need them and there are definitely time when those people don't return home," says Will Pederson, Winnebago County 9-11 Emergency Responders Memorial, board president.

The artist says the faces of the statues do not represent any single person. Bemis worked with a variety of emergency responders as she drew up the statues but created the images on her own.

"They come to me as I am working on them. It's just as I see them. As far as the uniform and the gear they are exact. I have been given the equipment and these are life and a half. So i have a calculator and everything is 1 and a half the exact size," says Bemis.

"These statues will be the element that will set this memorial off. People are going to drive by and just be amazing by how big these things are," says Pederson.

The statues still need to be bronzed and the memorial doesn't have the money to do that yet. They need $150,000. If you want to donate click here.

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