RICHMOND (WRIC) - It's been four years in the making and finally, a groundbreaking took place for the commonwealth public safety memorial.
On the grounds of Darden Garden at Capitol Square, a group gathers to say thank you to everyone serving Virginia.
Bob Wilson lost his 24-year-old son Kyle in 2007 as the young firefighter was overcome inside a burning house in Woodbridge. Kyle's name will be one of 832 on a wall honoring public safety officers who have died in the line of duty.
"I'm looking forward to the end result," he says. "It's going to be a really pretty monument, memorial."
The memorial will also recognize another 165,000 paid and volunteer first responders who, along with their families, sacrifice so much for their communities.
"I hope they will take comfort in knowing that this New Year this memorial is well on its way and the wait is almost over and it won't be long until we father here for its dedication," says Virginia Public Safety Foundation President C. Hadden Culp.
Plans for this memorial gained momentum in 2009 when then-Governor Tim Kaine gave the Virginia Public Safety Foundation the task of raising $2 million for the construction.
It's becoming a reality now for the firefighters, police officers and others who serve.
"It's all family," Wilson says. "They really come together to do a lot for each other. The statement you will never be forgotten it's a truism. You celebrate the life of the person, not the death and that's fitting if you knew Kyle he was quite a character."
Until now, Virginia was one of only five states without a monument to public safety service.
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