APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY)- Work is underway right now on a sculpture outside the Appleton Fire Department on Drew Street to honor fallen firefighter Mitch Lundgaard and others in the city who’ve died in the line of duty.
Artist Jeff Olson is sculpting “The Final Alarm,” a tribute to firefighters who died on the job, in honor of Appleton firefighter Mitch Lundgaard (WBAY photo)
As Action 2 News has been reporting, driver-engineer Lundgaard responded to a medical call at the Fox Valley Transit Center last May and was shot and killed by a man revived from a drug overdose.
Lundgaard left behind a wife and three young sons.
Carving away on a huge piece of limestone outside Appleton Fire Station Number 1, Jeff Olson is working on a sculpture that’s just starting to take shape as he uses the real helmet of fallen firefighter Mitch Lundgaard to resemble the very top.
“Mitch was married to my cousin, I mean, my niece, and I wanted something where his kids could go and view it other than, and remember what their dad stood for and what he was, instead of just going to the gravesite and realizing their loss,” said Olson.
The sculpture will be known as “The Final Alarm,” which is a tribute to firefighters who’ve died on the job.
In this case. it will feature four names on the back, including Driver-Engineer Lundgaard.
Olson described it, saying, “He’s emerging from the rock and he’s at rest. He’s going to be holding, he has his hands on a fire axe, and he’s just going to be kind of looking out at what’s next.”
Olson has taught art for 35 years and has a masters degree in sculpture, but this project is especially fulfilling.
“His loss hit me really bad, so I was kind of doing this to kind of get through the grieving process, but also like I said, to honor his memory and to give his kids a place to do it,” he said.
While a sculpture like this would normally be quite expensive, Olson says he had all of the supplies donated.
He hopes to have it finished by the end of this month.