AUSTIN Against the blue backdrop of the Texas sky, a brave fireman cast in bronze keeps watch at the State Capitol.
Erected in 1896, the 50-foot-tall monument lists the names of every Texas volunteer firefighter who died serving the public.
At least it did until 2010, when space for additional names simply ran out.
'People that are actually donating their time to volunteer as firemen and put their lives at risk and also give their lives not only for the State of Texas but also for the people that live there, it's a pretty significant thing,' said volunteer firefighter Andrew Maldonado. 'I think their names do need to be recognized in some shape or manner.'
Maldonado was visiting Austin from Raymondville, Texas. He said this memorial the second ever to be erected on the ground of the Capitol needs new life.
The State Firemen's and Fire Marshals' Association of Texas is raising money to add large granite pieces around the memorial, providing additional space to display more names including the 12 first responders who perished in the West, Texas fertilizer explosion.
'Our goal now is to reach $150,000 in 150 days,' said Chris Barron, executive director of the organization, noting that six to eight Texas firefighters lose their life in the line of duty every year.
Until this construction project is complete and more space becomes available, the group will continue adding names to a granite slab in the ground; but they say it's just not good enough.
'We've got to do something better than that,' Barron said.
Roughly $120,000 has already been pledged; $30,000 more is needed to expand this memorial in time for a planned ceremony next March.
'The expansion has already been approved by the governor and the Preservation Board, so we are ready to go,' Barron said. 'We just got to get the funds in order to have the granite ordered and then ultimately constructed and put in place.'
The funds will provide for the names of those who died in the line of duty to be etched upon the permanent memorial expansion.