The Kingsport Fire Department held a press conference and an unveiling of the “R.HERO” sculpture this morning in front of Fire Station 1. The “R. HERO” is a aluminum dalmation sculpture that stands nearly 6-feet tall and was created by the artists Karen and Tony Barone. The “R. HERO” sculptures can be seen across the country in such states as California, Michigan, Arizona, and Pennsylvania to name a few. These sculptures pay tribute to our uniformed heroes such as firefighters, police officers, and first responders that serve the community. The “R.HERO” sculpture also helps educate children of honor, respect, and compassion for others. The funding for the sculpture was made available from a generous donation by Bunni and Rick Benarion, founders of The Hero in You Foundation, Inc. Click here for a more information about the foundation, the donors, and the artists.
Bunni and Rick Benaron created the foundation “to celebrate our heroes today with public art that catches your eye and makes you stop for a moment to think about the heroes out there who work tirelessly to make the world more secure, those who gave their lives in service to others. But it doesn’t stop there. The Foundation also wants to inspire and encourage the next generation to become heroes. Or as I like to say, they can “earn their hero spots” by doing heroic deeds for others in their daily lives,” says Bunni Benaron. (EngageKingsport.com)
At the unveiling today at KFD Fire Station 1, members of the community including the Chamber of Commerce, The Board of Mayor and Aldermen, members of EngageKingsport, city staff, and school children from the area all gathered to see the cover lifted off of Kingsport’s “R.HERO.” The Kingsport Fire Department: Fire Station 1 was selected from a national list of fire stations to be the recipient of the “R.HERO” sculpture thanks to the hard work of Buster Watts. The sculpture will be a permanent stop on the Kingsport Sculpture Walk.
The artists, Karen and Tony Barone, are no strangers to The “Model City.” The Barone’s actually called Kingsport, TN home for a number of years, and have designed one of the most recognizable restaurants that were first built in Kingsport. If you have ever stopped by a Pal’s Sudden Service in Southwest Virginia or Northeast Tennessee, you will be familiar with their work. They actually designed the signature burger, fries, and hotdog that can be seen on the outside of these restaurants. Now, Kingsport is once again a home to some of their art with the “R. HERO” sculpture that can be seen at KFD Station 1 located at 130 Island Street.