Family celebrates memory of fallen firefighters in third memorial golf outing

Memorial to honor Toledo's fallen heroes to be complete by the holidays
(Source: WTOL)
(Source: WTOL)

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Next week, the man charged with setting a fire that killed two Toledo firefighters is due back in court.

Ray Abou Arab has a preliminary hearing scheduled for Aug. 11 and is charged with two counts murder, aggravated murder and multiple counts of aggravated arson in the 2014 deaths of Stephen Machcinski and Jamie Dickman.

If convicted, Abou Arab could get the death penalty.

Machcinski and Dickman died battling a house fire on Magnolia Street in north Toledo that investigators say was set by Abou Arab.

On Monday, family members gathered at Maple Grove golf course for the Stephen Machcinski Memorial golf outing.

The event was the third of its kind to honor fallen firefighter Stephen Machcinski, but it had another important purpose, to raise money for charity like the one that's creating this huge memorial to first responders - a feature and traveling art piece that started just after Dickman and Machcinski died.

Rick Machcinski, Stephen's brother, chose Chainsaws For Charity for this year's tournament because they help people suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and are creating the memorial that will honor fire, police, military and paramedics.

The artist, in fact, suffered from PTSD after being violently attacked in 2009. Steve Gore, carving the wooden memorial, will be including the Twin Towers where hundreds of first responders died that same year.

Mikey Skellie of Chainsaws for Charity said the piece is really making an impact on those that have seen it. A Missouri company donated a rare bronze bell to be included.

"Everybody that puts their eyeballs on it, only being partially done, are flabbergasted," he said. "They can't, the symbolism that Steve has put into this."

"I just think this monument is great," Rick Machcinski said. "It's going to be seen by everyone all over the country and I hope it just brings attention to, not only the sacrifices that emergency workers make, but also the people that suffer from PTSD."

Stephen's brother said they'll attend every step of the trial when it does begin and even if the jury gives them justice, he says it won't fix what was taken from them.

"Maybe the initial shock of what happened has dissipated somewhat, but the pain is still there and I think what makes it worse is the court case against the arsonist has drug on for, well it's going to be three years this winter," he said. "And I think that's what's making it harder. Just not having any closure yet."

The police component of the memorial will honor Toledo police detective Keith Dressel, who was killed in the line of duty in 2007.

The full memorial should be done by the holidays.

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