At a community celebration to kick off Fire Prevention Week, the Aspen Fire Department also welcomed a very special guest.

The Hero In You Foundation co-founder Bunni Benaron introduced “R. Hero,” a sculpture of a Dalmatian, the official mascot for fire stations around the world, at the public unveiling and dedication ceremony.

The goal of the traveling puppy project, which donates six-foot-tall, painted metal versions to public spaces, is to serve as a visual reminder and conversation starter about the traits of a hero: respect, honor, bravery, and compassion for others.

With her husband, Rick, the former elementary school teacher started the Los Angeles–based nonprofit in light of a string of tragedies, beginning with 9/11, to “honor the heroes in our lives and inspire kids to want to be a hero in their own life.” Together, they have also authored the “R. Hero” children’s book collection, created a safety education series, and implemented a scholarship program.

The Aspen Fire Department is now home to one of 26 unique “R. Hero” sculptures across the nation, as well as international installations in El Salvador and Israel.

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