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Great story for you fireman

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussion' started by David Tarantino, Oct 6, 2011.

  1. Oct 6, 2011 at 8:51 AM
    David Tarantino

    David Tarantino [OP] Well-Known Member

    Jun 20, 2008
    08 tacoma
    Fireman’s son honors father’s memory

    Thursday, October 6, 2011 Last updated: Thursday October 6, 2011, 2:01 AM</SPAN>
    Pascack Valley Community Life

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    "I was brought up a fireman's son," Scott McDowell proudly says, referring to his late father, Ed, who was a member of the Hillsdale Volunteer Fire Department. "And my mom was in the auxiliary in the 1970s and '80s, too."
    [​IMG] The Park Ridge Volunteer Fire Department marked its 100th anniversary in 1998. This monument at their building was placed there as part of the observance. The area was enhanced recently by Scott McDowell, of Woodcliff Lake, who designed and installed plantings, and a waterfall – fittingly springing from a fire hydrant.

    Woodcliff Lake resident Scott McDowell recently designed and installed two water fountains fashioned out of old fire hydrants, one in Park Ridge and one in Woodcliff Lake, as a way to honor the memory of his late father, Ed McDowell, who served on the Hillsdale Fire Department for 27 years. Pictured above is the recently completed fountain outside of the Woodcliff Lake Fire Department.

    That connection and his passion for his work as a landscape designer informed his designs for two installations he recently completed – one at the Park Ridge Fire Department in August and the other a month later at the Woodcliff Lake Fire Department.
    His father, who passed away in August at the age of 72, spent 27 years serving on the Hillsdale Police Department, so Scott felt it was fitting to fashion the fountains out of old fire hydrants. The hydrants, says Scott, are ones that are now out of service from the Park Ridge Water Company.
    "It was his thing. He loved firefighting," says Scott, who grew up in Hillsdale and now resides in Woodcliff Lake. His dedication was well known throughout the Pascack Valley. Scott said about 65 firefighters from five towns paid their respects at his dad's funeral.
    Ed's actions at a Westwood house fire in 1972 earned him the Fireman of the Year Award. The fire, which required the response of several departments, was quite serious, Scott says, since there were children trapped on the second floor of the home. Tragically, the children lost their lives in the fire. "He threw two firemen off the deck and ran up to save the kids," he explains.
    Jaymee Hodges, a Westwood firefighter, spoke to Scott at his dad's funeral about that fire. He was an 18-year-old junior firefighter at the time and he told Scott his father's actions inspired his many years as a volunteer firefighter. Scott said, "He told me he was standing next to my dad just before he entered the burning house. He told me, 'I told him that we couldn't go in there and your dad said 'I'm a fireman – that's what we do' and he went in." Hodges' two sons are New York City firefighters and his stepson, Sgt. Christopher Hrbek, who was killed in action in Afghanistan in January 2010, was also a Westwood firefighter.
    Honoring his father, as well as all volunteer firefighters, was something Scott made a promise to do when he established a business of his own and could give back to the community.
    His career in landscape design began over 25 years ago, when he established a company in Hillsdale with two partners. After building up the business over many years, the partners went their separate ways about six years ago and Scott began his own company, Innovative Landscapes. About five years ago, an opportunity to make good on his promise arose and he worked to enhance the Fireman's Memorial in Hillsdale's Fireman's Park on Broadway, in honor of his father.
    Now, with a well-established business, Scott says, "I try to donate and give back as much as I can to the towns. Especially the firemen."
    The project in Park Ridge was first brought up about three years ago by a friend and Hillsdale neighbor with strong ties to the Park Ridge Fire Department. When presented with the idea of updating the landscaping in front of the firehouse, it didn't take long for him to visualize the idea of a fire hydrant waterfall pouring into a small pond adjacent to department's Centennial Monument.
    "We went up there to look at the location and the idea of using a fire hydrant came to me immediately," he explains. In addition to the water feature, plants, pavers and low voltage lighting for the pond was installed.
    Last year, when Scott and his family moved to Woodcliff Lake he saw another opportunity to "give back" and decided to do a similar installation for the fire department in his new hometown.
    Woodcliff Lake Fire Chief Jared Shapiro says that the department was interested in making some type of memorial on their property. One of the initial plans tossed around called for creating one behind the Pascack Road firehouse, on a small strip of open land.
    "We were going to put in some benches, a fountain and some stones. It would be somewhere soothing," explains Jared, adding that the department also applied with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for a piece of steel from the World Trade Center as a way to remember the two Woodcliff Lake residents who perished in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, as well as all the emergency service personnel who died that day.
    When the chance to work with Scott presented itself, Jared says the department "felt it would be kind of a waste of his talent to put the fountain in the back because no one would be able to see it."
    Woodcliff Lake's fountain is located on the front lawn of the fire department, next to an existing monument.
    Scott says, "Even though it's still a fire hydrant and we did one in Park Ridge, I wanted to make it look different than Park Ridge's, so we put it in the center and tried to make it the main focal piece. In Park Ridge, the main focal piece is a big, huge monument."
    The fountain, Jared believes, came out very well and will be something that proves to be very meaningful for the department.
    "With our monument, when people pass away, we gather around it as a department, say a prayer and ring the bell. After a funeral, the funeral procession will come by and we'll sound the siren, lower the doors and ring the bell. The water feature is kind of soothing and is really nice for our department."
    Email: redmondk@northjersey.com and burger@northjersey.com

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