By Cass Rains, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
A memorial in honor of late Enid Fire Department Chief Philip Clover is planned for the plaza of Convention Hall.
The memorial will be a statue of Sparky the Fire Dog, a role Clover was known to assume at public events and demonstrations.
“Interacting with the city’s youngest constituents as Sparky was arguably Philip’s favorite part of the job,” Chief Joe Jackson said. “His animated antics and love of life behind the mask made him a favorite of young and old alike.”
Clover died Oct. 23, 2011, of a heart attack while visiting family across the state. During his 34 years of service with the department, 15 of those as chief, he was instrumental in securing millions in grants and funds to further fire protection throughout the area.
Jackson said following Clover’s death he, City Manager Eric Benson and Clover’s wife Terrie discussed doing a project in Clover’s memory. The result was the Sparky the Fire Dog statue.
“This was a good tribute to him,” Jackson said. “It was his pet project all along.”
Award-winning Oklahoma artist Denise Rinkovsky has been commissioned to create the memorial. Rinkovsky is known for her work honoring the fire service.
Cost for the design and casting of the life-sized bronze statue is estimated at $56,000.
Jackson said letters were sent to friends of Clover and the department about a week ago.
“We’re hoping we have some support from the community,” he said. “We’ve had some response.”
All contributions are appreciated, Jackson said, with local businesses and individuals being recognized as Gold Sponsors with a $10,000 donation; Silver Sponsors with a $5,000 donation; and Bronze Sponsors with a $1,000 donation.
Contribution checks should be made out to the Sparky Statue Memorial Fund. They can be mailed to Enid Fire Department, 401 W. Garriott, Enid, OK 73703, or dropped off at the station during regular business hours.
“As a 25-year member of the Enid Fire Department, and having the pleasure to work closely with Philip as his assistant chief for six years, I am excited about this opportunity to honor his memory and his commitment to fire service,” Jackson said. “Please join me in helping to sponsor this memorial tribute.”