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Bricks pave the way for Living Legacy statue

By Ed Brock

A thousand years from now some future archeologist may find a puzzling site on a dig in what is now called the city of Morrow.

It will be a bronze statue of a man holding the hand of a boy. The man will seem to be wearing some kind of uniform, and surrounding the statue will be bricks engraved with writing, cryptic messages like "Devon McLean, Love Nanny and PaPaw" or the names of Louise Orr and her family.

Orr, the McLeans and some 50 other Morrow residents have already put down their $30 per engraved brick that will pave the way for the construction of the Morrow Police Department's "Living Legacy."

"I felt like we've lived here and we've enjoyed it and I wanted something for my children and grandchildren to come back and see," Orr said. "I imagine once they get all the bricks down it really will be something to see."

The department began the brick drive at the first of the year to help bring about Morrow Police Chief Kenny Smith's dream of buying a statue to place in front of the Morrow police headquarters, Capt. Stacy Moore said.

Smith's dream began when the department moved into their current building in 1997, Smith said.

"When we were doing the landscape plan for the building we actually drew it into the plan," Smith said.

Smith and Moore both emphasized that the statue is not a memorial.

"This is to pay tribute to officers who are still walking the beat, still patrolling, and those who did it before," Moore said.

While response to the brick drive has been good so far, Moore said they want to get the word out to the public so they can more quickly raise the money needed to pay for the $15,000 statue by Brodine Studios of Minneapolis, Minn.

Brodine Studios is one of several vendors for such statues that Smith encountered at various trade shows.

"I've just stayed in touch with them over the years and told them hey, one day," Smith said. "We're close now."

They hope to have the statue, called "The Protector," in place by the end of July and the city's public works department employees, who are donating their time, could have the bricks in place a week or two after.

"The nice thing about Morrow is we have such a great relationship with the citizens," Moore said. "This will let them make a lasting mark at this station, a tribute, I guess you could say."

And those citizens are not just people who live in the city, Moore said, but those who visit the town to shop, see a movie or go to a restaurant.

Cee Viola, a long-time volunteer worker at the department, bought two bricks, one for herself and her husband, the other to record her being named the city's Law Enforcement Citizen of the Year for 2002.

"I wanted that to go down for posterity," Viola said.

The bricks, made by Heritage Bricks of Haslett, Mich., have room for three 14-character lines. Joyce and Pat McLean used their space to make the tribute to their grandson mentioned previously and bought another brick to dedicate to their children.

Orr also bought one brick for her son, Forest Park police Capt. Tommy Orr.

For information on getting a brick, stop by the Morrow Police Department at 6311 Murphy Drive or call Moore or Judy Pristavec at (770) 961-4006. Information is also available on the city's Web site at www.cityofmorrow.com.