Honoring Fire Fighters

Courthouse dedication ceremony
to honor local firefighters

Indiana Supreme Court
Chief Justice Shepard to speak

By Laura Hodges
Contributing Writer

(August 2011) – The rededication of the Jefferson County Courthouse will be a two-day event honoring the volunteer firefighters who fought the devastating fire that almost destroyed it.


Photo by Don Ward

The newly rebuilt
courthouse cupola
rises majestically
into the blue sky.

Friday ceremonies: At 10:30 a.m. on Aug. 26, volunteer firefighters will gather on the west steps of the Courthouse for a panoramic photo, to be taken from the roof of a building across the street. The rededication program, to which the public is invited, will begin at 10:55 a.m., with a moment of silence for Chris Cutshall and the other Madison Regatta accident victims. There will be a flag presentation by the American Legion Color Guard. Faith Todd will sing the National Anthem.
Madison Fire Chief Steve Horton, who directed the firefighting effort, will give brief remarks, followed by the formal presentation of plaques to participating volunteer fire departments.
Past and present employees of Jefferson County will be honored. Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Ted Todd will speak on the topic, “Jefferson County Courthouse: A People’s Faith in the Rule of Law,” followed by Jefferson County Superior Court Judge Alison Frazier’s introduction of Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard. Shepard will speak at approximately 12:30 p.m. in a speech titled, “County Courthouses and the Twenty-First Century.”
The Madison Area Chamber of Commerce will assist in a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the Courthouse at approximately 12:45 p.m. Dignitaries will proceed to the courtrooms, where Chief Justice Shepard will set the official seals in place.
Firefighters and their families are invited to tour the restored courthouse after the ceremony.
Public tours: Members of the public are invited to tour the courthouse between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27. Tours will start every 15 minutes.
Students from Madison Consolidated High School will lead the tours on both days, while elected county officials will be in their offices to talk about their specific areas. The old jail will also be open to visitors.
The courthouse bell will be displayed in its new permanent location on the southwest lawn.
Local author Michael Moore will have copies of his book, “Jefferson County Historical Society Tribute to Volunteer Firemen,” available for sale during the courthouse festivities. The price will be $15. The historical society will also have displays concerning the history of the Jefferson County courthouse, including the fire, inside the courthouse.
Music: Music will also be part of the festivities. Some musicians will play quiet background music inside the courthouse during tours on Friday. The Madison Concert Band will perform patriotic music outdoors from 11 a.m. to noon on Saturday. Additional music will continue into the afternoon. School music groups have been invited to participate.
Traffic and parking: One block of Jefferson Street, between Main and Second, will be closed to vehicles after 10 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 26 and until 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27. Traffic barriers may be removed during part of that time, but there will be no parking during scheduled activities. Parking is available in the city lot south of Second Street.
The Courthouse Rededication Committee is comprised of Dave Carlow, Judy Smith, Julie Berry, Terri Waller, Ted Todd,  Joe Carr, Richard Armstrong, Sharon Daghir, Mike Moore, Jan Vetrhus, Gerry Reilly, Bob Ems, Debbie Bennett, Joe Carr, Wanda Welch, Margo Watkins, Lynda Knoebel,  Bob Thomas,  Alison Frazier and Celeste Reed. 

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