Her cheeks and nose reddened by the biting winter wind, Mary Galvin watched as the massive bronze sculpture hung above its pedestal, moments from being set in place.
After a decade of planning, preparation and fundraising, the Law Enforcement Memorial of Sedgwick County was completed Wednesday, as crews lowered the 1-ton sculpture of two lions onto the pedestal at the center of the memorial on the southwest corner of Central and Main.
Galvin has been involved with the memorial's development from the start, honoring the wish of her late husband, Wichita police Lt. Jack Galvin.
Every time he would return from an out-of-town funeral for a law enforcement officer, Galvin would tell his wife that it was a shame there was no local memorial for officers killed in the line of duty.
He died following an explosion at the Wichita Police Department's bomb range in the fall of 2000.
"I think he would be very proud," Mary Galvin said.
Not just of the memorial, she said, which features plaques and boots representing the footwear that would have been worn by each of the 29 law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty since 1871.
He would also be proud of the effort put into it and the number of people who donated to make the memorial a reality, in amounts small and large.
"I think that speaks to what the memorial means to this community," she said.
Formal dedication won't come until early spring, Sedgwick County Undersheriff Mike Stover said.
But it's ready now for visitors to take in, with its blue LED light shining atop the pillar guarded by the bronze lions, and the reflection area with benches where people can gaze upon the names and boots of the fallen officers.
The first was Deputy Sheriff Carlos King in 1871; the most recent, Deputy Brian Etheridge on Sept. 28, 2009.
There is space for more names to be added.
History suggests that it will be needed, Galvin said.