In 1998 the Westerville Division of Fire experienced the loss of twenty-nine year old fire fighter David Theisen, who was killed in a house fire during hometown volunteer duty. Theisen was beloved by many, having also served with Worthington, Crooksville, Plain Township and Madison Township Fire Departments. Led by Tom Ullom, a Westerville firefighter/medic, a committee of citizens and city officials decided that a fire fighters’ memorial at First Responders’ Park should be built in tribute to Theisen as well as all courageous men and women who serve, or have served, their communities. This would provide fire fighters, as well as the public, with an inspirational and healing setting in which to celebrate their achievements and contemplate losses experienced by all dedicated first responders; fire fighters, police and 911 dispatchers.
The cast bronze memorial consists of two components. A heroic (approximately 115% life size) portrait figure of David Theisen in turnout gear with helmet under one arm standing within a large bronze doorframe. Seen from the front, the street side, the surface of the doorframe is smooth with a low relief Greek pediment and akroter ornaments associated with ancient memorial stones or stelae. From the front, the sculpture is clearly perceived as a memorial. The back surface of the doorframe has a sculpted surface that resembles clapboard siding typical of a residential doorway. Above the doorway is a high relief triangular pediment echoing the one on the front. The clapboard is heavily alligatored resembling a charred wall. The back of the sculpture becomes a metaphoric image of the uncertainty and danger faced by fire fighters in the performance of their duties. The Memorial is titled The Crossing.
For your own keepsake, a Commemorative Coin has been created representing the Westerville Fire Fighters' Memorial, "The Crossing"
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