One of the many ceremonies across Iowa Tuesday to remember the events of September 11, 2001 involved the unveiling of sculpture outside the fire station in Newton. Fifty-five-year-old Jim Cleere of Newton was the only Iowa resident killed in the collapse of the Twin Towers in New York.
His wife, Jean, lead the fundraising effort for the statue as a way to honor the firefighters who also died trying to save her husband’s life. Cleere said all firefighters should be thanked for putting their lives on the line. “This is their job, yes, but it’s not a job most of us would take on,” Cleere said.
“This monument is dedicated to all firefighters across the nation.” The sculpture depicts two firefighters saving a child. It was created by Reasnor artist Nick Klepinger, who called the statue a mixture between abstract and realism. Cleere and others sold bricks to help finance the project. Those bricks, which are engraved with names, surround the base of the sculpture.
By Randy Van, KCOB, Newton