A South San Francisco teen raising money to install a memorial water fountain honoring first responders said he hopes the project takes him one step closer to earning his Eagle Scout honors while also achieving a larger goal.
“I’m hoping the project might create a stronger bond between the community and first responders in general,” said Andrew Dean, who is spearheading the effort to build at the corner of Magnolia and Grand avenues a memorial for police, firefighters, soldiers and others who died while in the line of duty.
Dean, 17, launched an online crowdsourcing campaign seeking $5,000 to finance the construction of the water fountain as well as a memorial plaque to be installed in front of the First Baptist Church, at 600 Grand Ave. To date, he has collected roughly $1,100 toward his end goal.
A longtime member of Boy Scout Troop 72 in San Bruno, Dean picked the project as one of the final pieces he needs to complete before seeking to become an Eagle Scout.
With family members in various forms of public service from police departments, to ambulance teams and the armed forces, the effort to recognize the work first responders do is a deeply personal pursuit, said Dean.
“It’s kind of a feeling I have always had, with my family’s background. This kind of respect for first responders,” he said. “I know so many that aren’t in my family and almost all of my family was one. I have always felt they deserve our respect and we should honor them.”
Though Dean said personally he appreciates the important work all first responders do, his project will be designed to honor those have died, because other memorials recognizing living public servants already exist locally.
“We are going to build a first responders memorial because I feel that will tie everything together to honor those who put their lives on the line for civilians,” he said.
Dean, who is responsible for coordinating the project as well as guiding it through the approval and construction process, said he hopes to break ground on the memorial later this month and expects it could take about two months to complete.
The project will be built, regardless of whether he meets his fundraising goal, said Dean, but he could use the additional financial assistance to help pay for construction materials.
Considering the uptick over recent months in national attention recognizing the occasionally contentious relationship between police and communities of color, Dean said he would like his project to foster more good will between South San Francisco residents and public servants.
There is additional need to recognize those who died protecting and serving their community, said Dean.
“I think the community as a whole should have a place that they would go to remember those who have fallen,” he said.
Dean, who is entering his senior year at Roger Williams Academy in South San Francisco, said the countless hours of work he has sunk into the project helped him establish confidence as a leader and director of such an intensive initiative.
“To me it proves that I can do a lot more than I would have originally anticipated,” he said.
Once he graduates high school, Dean said he hopes to pursue his own career in public service, as he plans to apply to join the Air Force Academy.
South San Francisco Councilwoman Liza Normandy said in an email she supported Dean’s project, as she believes the local community of first responders deserves recognition.
“I cannot wait for the fountain dedication and I am so proud of this young man,” she said.
Visit gofundme.com/2hwx69w to find out more about the project, and to donate.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 105
Wow, that's outstanding! I will sure put in a few buck for this young man. Thanks for sharing Capt.