MARIETTA - The statue of a firefighter now graces the entrance of the Marietta Fire Department, thanks to the family of late Marietta Fire Chief Bill Eagleson, who served the department from 1954 to 1986.
"Bill worked his way up through the ranks. He was a good firefighter who years ago started fire prevention efforts for buildings in the downtown area," Mayor Joe Matthews said during a dedication ceremony for the statue Wednesday afternoon.
He said Eagleson was named fire chief in 1983 and served in that capacity until he retired in 1986. Eagleson died in 1989.
Photo by Sam Shawver
A statue honoring Marietta firefighters was unveiled in front of the city’s main fire station during a brief ceremony Wednesday afternoon. Shown from left, prior to the ceremony are firefighter and EMT Scott Casto, Fire Chief C.W. Durham, Preslee Croston (Bill Eagleson’s 2-year-old great granddaughter) and Marietta Mayor Joe Matthews.
"Bill was just a real decent and honest guy," said firefighter Tom Reebel, who served with Eagleson.
"Those of us who knew him best just called him 'eggs,'" he said. "And I never saw him get angry. He was always even-keeled."
The firefighter statue has been installed near the sidewalk to the right of the firehouse driveway facing Third Street.
"We very much appreciate this gift from the family. It's something to preserve Bill's memory and to honor all of our past firefighters," said Marietta Fire Chief C.W. Durham.
Eagleson's daughter, Brenda Croston, 55, of Whipple, said the statue came from a store in the Belpre area and the family thought it would be a good memorial to firefighters like her father.
"He was one of a kind," she said.
Croston said she grew up around the fire station where her father worked.
"He loved his job, and we're very proud of him," she said.
Croston, her daughter Riannon Croston, 21, and 2-year-old granddaughter Preslee Croston attended the statue dedication ceremony.
Durham said city workers laid the concrete platform and stone wall where the statue is located. He said some finish work needs to be completed on the project, including the installation of a plaque that will stand in front of the statue.
The following words are inscribed on the plaque:
"Courage, Service and Valor-To honor the firefighters of Marietta whose dedication to saving lives and fighting fires has made them heroes in our community."