Deputy Fire Chief Dave Wuis says the department has raised $72,000 to build a memorial next to Merrill Park honoring all firefighters, which will include a statue for Switalski. The bronze statue will cost around $32,000 to build.
“We’re hoping to start the wall anytime now and that’s going to be a mosaic tile that a local artist has designed,” Wuis said.
Kevin Thompson, close friend and firefighter, stopped by Boatyard Brewing Company on Friday as they tapped the keg on a beer called “Fast Eddie,” made especially to honor Switalski.
“It’s tough for everybody that knew him,” Thompson said. “Two years have passed and there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about him.”
Thompson described the former chief as someone who was friends with everyone and a great member of the community.
Firefighters are hopeful the memorial will be finished and Switalski’s sacrifice will never be forgotten.
“It was a big loss. It was a big loss for the department and the community and all of Kalamazoo County,” Thompson said.
People can donate to the memorial online.