Boy Scout Daniel Nienaber was joined by members of fallen firefighter Patrick Wolterman’s family and friends and several firefighters last week at Rotary Park in downtown Hamilton for the dedication of a bench built by the scout in honor of the man who lost his life in the line of duty.
Dec. 28 marked the second anniversary of Wolterman’s death. He was one of several firefighters who responded to a house fire about 1:10 a.m. at 1310 Pater Ave that day.
A large crowd braved frigid temperatures to show up for the bench dedication and gave a collective loud round of applause as the festive metal bench, featuring a tribute to Wolterman and his last alarm information, was revealed.
Nienaber, 17, of Harrison, is a member of Boy Scout Troop 293. He said the project was part of his effort to become an Eagle Scout.
“I have been in the troop for six or seven years and I’m in process of becoming an Eagle Scout, so this was the project for that,” he explained. “The reason I did this project is because I’ve been growing up around firefighters my entire life and I know the sacrifices they may have to face everyday in their job. So I wanted to do this bench so he (Wolterman) would be remembered by the community and his family forever.”
Nienaber said he received help from his uncles and the scout troop during the process of getting the bench built.
“It all got started in August and things got rolling in September,” he said. “In October, we started building the bench and had it ready for dedication (Thursday, Dec. 28).”
Tony Harris, president of the IAFF Local 20, which represents Hamilton firefighters, said Nienaber’s effort is well-respected by those who worked with Wolterman.
“It’s awesome,” Harris said. “There is not really anyplace we can gather — we have the Firefighter’s Memorial that is for all firefighters in Butler County — but this bench is for Patrick. This is a place I can see us gathering at times to pay respect to Patrick.”
He added, that “when just the average citizen is walking by at any of these events downtown, they are going to see that bench and remember Patrick.”
Several donors, including some local fire departments, chipped in financially to help fund the project.