As the son of a deputy sheriff and the father of a firefighter, Steve Cronic recognized the “deep generational significance” of the public safety tribute dedicated Thursday in Gainesville.
The former Hall County sheriff said the 16-ton monument standing in Roosevelt Square is a testament to “those who have served in the past, to those who now serve and those who will serve in the future.”
“We honor you today and recognize that what you do is not a job. It’s a calling,” said Public Safety Tribute Committee Chair Lona Pope.
The sound of bagpipes and drums echoed through the square Thursday afternoon, with dozens gathered to view the monument dedicated to the city and county’s public safety departments.
“Dedicated to the men and women of Gainesville-Hall County’s public safety agencies who, through the choice of their profession, reflect the Rotary motto: ‘Service Above Self’” the inscription reads.
Cronic and former Gainesville Police Chief Frank Hooper spearheaded the brick and bench campaign that surround the monument. Hooper said 420 bricks were sold, which contributed about $20,000 to the project.
“Each brick tells the story of someone’s service and dedication to our profession and to the citizens of Hall County and its municipalities,” Hooper said.
Gainesville Police sold the most bricks at 126, with the Hall County Sheriff’s Office selling 105 bricks, Hooper said.
“It’s nice to know that we live in a community that cares, that appreciates what we do,” Gainesville Police Chief Carol Martin said following the dedication.
The monument is near the old Gainesville City Hall and the monument to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who visited after the tornado of 1936 and the following year.