2020 was an unprecedented year in which first responders displayed courage and heroism that did not go unnoticed, and the Pueblo West Women’s League donated a sculpture to the community in honor of first responders called ‘Every Day Heroes.’
The seventh piece of artwork that the league has donated to the community had its official dedication to the community’s first responders Tuesday.
“We’ve never really done anything like this before,” Pueblo West Women’s League president Barb Murfit said. “But it just seemed like the right thing to do, the right time to do it.”
The sculpture was placed in between the sheriff and fire station, and features an EMT, a sheriff and a firefighter.
Eric McCue, the artist who produced the sculpture, said when working on this piece his inspiration was unity — which was accomplished as staff from both the sheriff’s department, fire station and EMT’s gathered alongside the Pueblo West Women’s league for the dedication.
Pueblo County Sheriff Kirk Taylor said it was hard to put into words what the sculpture means to him.
“Especially during the social turmoil that we’re having across the country,” Taylor said. “Not so much in our community, but we see it everyday on the 24-hour news cycle. So, it just means a lot to know that the community is supportive of law enforcement, fire and all the first responders. It means more than I can put into words.”
For McCue, an important part of the unity that inspired the piece was making the sculpture race and gender neutral, and Taylor said he was pleased that the sheriff aspect of the sculpture was a female.
“I’m glad ours is a female,” Taylor said. “They need to be represented, and a high percentage of my whole agency is female — so that’s nice.”
Chief David Lucero echoed Sheriff Taylor, saying the sculpture is a beacon.
“It just shows you that the majority of people support law enforcement and all of our first responders,” Lucero said. “We’ve received tremendous support from our community, so we try not to give a lot of weight to the loud minority.”
Lucero also said the unity aspect of the sculpture speaks to the community partnership the first responders have.
“We have a great working relationship with Pueblo West fire and AMR,” Lucero said. “Be it a medical call or a traffic accident, we are on the scene with them.
“Even though it says sheriff (on the sculpture) that also represents our partnership with Colorado State Patrol and Pueblo Police because they are experiencing the same things in their respective communities.”
For McCue, the dedication ceremony came at the perfect time.
“I’m glad it happened when the world started to kind of open back up again,” McCue said. “We’re all very grateful to get through everything what we’ve gone through. It’s amazing. I’m just happy and blown away by the turnout of people that are here.”
While the ceremony was successful, McCue and Murfit noted there was a piece to the sculpture that was missing — a service dog.
“I originally wanted to (include a service dog,)” McCue noted. “But I didn’t know if the sheriff’s department had service dogs.”
Now, knowing the department does have service dogs, McCue and Murfit plan on creating an addition to the piece. But Murfit noted it may not be until sometime next year because the league has to raise more funding before that can be accomplished.
Overall, the support from the Pueblo West Women’s League and the community was well received by the first responders.
“We obviously respect everything our firefighters do, our law enforcement partners, and our EMT’s,” Pueblo West Fire Chief Brian Caserta said.
“So, this means a lot to be celebrating what they do on an everyday basis. We’re just very excited to have this donated by the Pueblo West Women’s League.”
Chieftain and Pueblo West View reporter Alexis Smith can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @smith_alexis27.