Dalmation statue pays tribute to first responders

Mayor Javier Gonzales and Bunni Benaron, CEO of The Hero In You Foundation, unveil a 6-foot-tall, candy-apple red Dalmatian sculpture, named R. Hero, on Monday in front of Fire Station No. 3 on Cerrillos Road by Ashbaugh Park. The statue, one of 25 that are located throughout the nation, honors heroes and first responders. Clyde Mueller/The New Mexican

Officials from the Santa Fe Fire Department, Mayor Javier Gonzales and local community members gathered Monday at Fire Station No. 3 to unveil and dedicate R. Hero, a six-foot-tall Dalmatian sculpture.

The aluminum sculpture has black spots like the dog long associated with firefighters, but there’s a twist: It’s an eye-catching red rather than the traditional white. R. Hero honors first responders and is designed to inspire young people. The art display seeks to encourage conversation between children and their parents, caregivers and teachers about the traits of a hero — courage, respect, honor and compassion for others.

“The R. Hero public art display is a celebration of our local heroes. As families visit Fire Station No. 3, we hope this sculpture will serve as a reminder of these heroes and the contributions they make here in Santa Fe and across the globe,” said Bunni Benaron, founder of The Hero In You Foundation. “The foundation wants to encourage the next generation to become heroes and ‘earn their hero spots’ by doing heroic deeds for others in their daily lives.”

The Hero In You Foundation recently launched “R. Hero’s Rules for Safety,” an educational program, free to the community, that teaches children five safety steps to follow in case of an emergency, as well as an online curriculum. Rocket, an animated Dalmatian puppy, helps children find “the hero in you,” while learning more about the work of all first responders.

For more information about The Hero In You Foundation or to view the video series and curriculum, please visit www.theheroinyoufoundation.org, Facebook.com/TheHeroInYouFoundation or twitter.com/THIYFoundation.

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