WESTERVILLE, Ohio (WCMH) – Westerville’s First Reponders Park was first dedicated in 2010 with a piece of steel from the north tower of the World Trade Center. It’s a place to honor fallen first responders. In February 2018 two of Westerville’s own first responders were killed in the line of duty.
Officers Anthony Morelli and Eric Joering were shot and killed on February 10, 2018 while responding to a 911 hang up call. Their convicted killer will be formally sentenced on November 21
As part of an expansion of First Responders Park, their names were engraved on new fountain.
“It’s unfortunate that a community has to have a park like this to recognize that,” said Charles Chandler, Westerville Police Chief. “But it’s appropriate for a community to have a park like this to recognize that.”
The park was re-dedicated on Thursday. It also has a statue of Firefighter David Theisen who died in the line of duty in 1988. As part of the expansion the statue was moved so it faces a Westerville Fire Department patch and the steel from the World Trade Center.
“The pain of losing one of our brothers or sisters in this line of work is just unbearable,” said Brian Miller, Westerville Fire Chief.
The park also now has more gathering space and is designed in such a way to reduce noise from the street. Police Chief Charles Chandler wishes the community didn’t need to have the park but he’s glad it does.
“It’s something you don’t want to have to have but it’s great that we do have it and it’s great that people have a place to come and remember Eric and Tony.” he said.
Right now, the water on the fountain is turned off because of the cold but it’s expected to be on in the spring.