Building a Custom Memorial Site in Record Time
Building a custom memorial site in record time to honoring the memory of a fallen Florida officer.
Deputy Sheriff Jonathan Scott Pine had been with the Orange County, Fla., sheriff’s office for two years when he responded to a call of multi-car break-ins on Feb. 10, 2014.
Officer Pine was shot and killed by the suspected burglar, shocking neighborhood residents and leaving Pine’s wife and three children behind. That neighborhood’s homeowner’s association, where the shooting took place, decided to have a permanent, in-ground custom memorial constructed.
The homeowner’s association president contacted Trinity Surfaces of Orlando, a local tile supplier, to discuss possibilities. Trinity Surfaces offered to donate the needed materials, which consisted of two types of tile and a specialty blue tile to be flown in from Italy. Dale Williams of Trinity contacted Jim Doane, a custom mason contractor in Sanford, Fla., for his help with the installation of the project. LATICRETE International was contacted as well and offered to donate the necessary installation materials for the memorial. The companies would have only 15 days to complete the project for the Feb. 11, 2015, ceremony that had been set to mark the one-year anniversary of the officer’s shooting.
To begin the process of building a custom memorial site, a deputy badge was scanned and computer image used to create a plastic template for the memorial. The next step was to choose the best tile colors and pre-cut everything to fit the design, which was 17 feet in diameter. Formal site preparation began in order to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the tragedy.
“It’s impossible to take on a project like this one and not get personally involved,” says Doane, owner of Jimbo’s Creative Masonry. “Despite the short timeline and environmental challenges, there was no way that any of us were going to let the community down.”
During the process of building a custom memorial site, Doane faced a number of significant challenges. First was the extremely tight timeline – only 15 days from the time the project was approved to the night of the dedication ceremony.
The second challenge was the surrounding landscape in the installation location. The memorial was designed to fit in the center of an existing circular section of sidewalk, but that sidewalk was 13 inches higher on one side than the other. That difference had to be accounted for and drainage needs addressed.
The third challenge was the design of the walkway itself. The original design called for individual stepping stones to approach each side of the badge, but those stones would have been subject to movement. Therefore, to prevent any movement, Doane poured concrete footers upon which to set pre-cut tile.
The fourth and final challenge would be the late arrival of the central medallion. The 36-inch bronze medallion wasn’t scheduled to arrive until the day before the dedication, so all tile placed ahead of time had to be measured and placed with the utmost accuracy to allow the medallion to be inserted at the final step.
Putting it all together
To prepare for the tile installation on the memorial, Doane used Laticrete’s STRATA_MAT, an uncoupling membrane for use under ceramic tile and stone installations. STRATA_MAT allowed fast drying of the mortar.
Doane used 254 Platinum, a thin-set mortar for interior and exterior installation of ceramic tile, stone, quarry tile, pavers and brick. Once the tiles were in place, PERMACOLOR Grout, a fast-setting grout, was used for all seams. LATASIL, a silicone sealant designed for ceramic tile and stone applications in wet areas, was used, along with STONETECH BulletProof Sealer.
The project of building a custom memorial site could not have happened in the short, two-week span, were it not for the shared commitment to honoring the memory of Deputy Sheriff Pine in a meaningful and lasting way. All pieces were completed and installed in time to hold the dedication ceremony as planned. The monument provides a beautiful tribute to the officer’s sacrifice and will be a centerpiece of the community for years to come.