Inhale courage exhale fear

From left to right, Nikki Wuori, Mayor Judson Marshall, Hannah Johnson and Fire Chief Terry Fischer.

Thanks to Cadette Girl Scouts Hannah Johnson and Nikki Wuori, Mahtomedi now has two memorial gardens to honor those who have served the community.

In addition to Veterans Memorial Park (formerly known as Triangle Park) honoring Mahtomedi residents who served in the Armed Forces, Mahtomedi has a new memorial to our first responders.

To earn their Silver Awards, Johnson and Wouri created a memorial pole to honor the hard work and courage of first responders during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as those who suffered from the disease.  

"We first thought of this project in early June," Johnson said. "Nikki and I thought it would be a great idea to create something that would relate to today's problems, but would also be relevant in the future."

Johnson and Wuori thought it was "super important" to thank first responders for all their sacrifices during this difficult time.

The six-foot pole now stands beside the flag pole outside the Mahtomedi fire station on County Road 12. The pole will keep watch over the existing plaque honoring two firefighters — Robert Hays and Bruce Jamie Raeburn -- who gave their lives fighting a fire at Brine's in downtown Stillwater in 1982.  

Among the requirements of earning the Silver Award is to partner with members of the community to complete a project.

Johnson and Wuori approached the public works department about installing a memorial pole in Mahtomedi, and the fire station flag pole was chosen as the site.  The scouts cleaned off the firefighter plaque and tidied up the area. They then worked with public works, who donated rocks and perennials for the scouts to install a rock circle with plants.

To come up with the best words of wisdom and encouragement for the pole, Johnson and Wuori involved the community and received 93 responses. They kept four of them: WE FOUGHT COVID-19 TOGETHER; INHALE COURAGE - EXHALE FEAR; THANK YOU, 1st FIRST RESPONDERS and JOY IS ALWAYS POSSIBLE.

Graphic designer Patricia St. Claire donated time and money to create the pole; and Home Depot donated the materials.  

Johnson and Wuori also collaborated with the Mahtomedi Library to distribute a brochure they created about first responders, the pole and stories about the pandemic from the community.

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