Such was the reaction of Erin Dorgan and her mother-in-law Mary Dorgan last year when they spied the deteriorating Fred Flintstone statue at the popular toddler play area in Fircrest.
They weren’t alone.
“Some of the children that were there thought it was a monster,” recalled Mary, a Tacoma kindergarten teacher who lives in Lakewood. “All the paint had wore off … and the kids were kind of afraid of it.”
Fred’s poor condition animated mother and daughter alike. Erin, who lives in Fircrest, is a big fan of the ‘60s cartoon and has collected memorabilia of Fred, Wilma and Dino since she was a kid. She lives in Fircrest and frequently takes her 2-year-old son, Lathan, to the Tot Lot, which is a popular spot for Fircrest families.
Erin kept mentioning she wanted to fix up Fred. With some prodding and support from her mother-in-law, Erin approached the City Council in July about freshening up the prehistoric character.
Mayor David Viafore called the statue “faded Fred” and was appreciative of the Dorgans’ efforts.
“I’m excited,” he said at the time. “This is what Fircrest was built on: volunteers.”
Mary Dorgan said she spent about $100 on paint, brushes and other supplies, and her daughter-in-law spent between 15 and 20 hours during the month of August to paint the statue. There was no cost to the city. Erin said children would gather around to watch her paint and offer suggestions.
Enumclaw wood sculptor Joaquin Quezada created the statue, according to the city. He didn’t return a phone message seeking comment.
The Dorgans’ effort made the front page of this month’s edition of the city newsletter at the request of a city councilman.
The Dorgans aren’t done with Fred yet. They are interested in dressing the statue up on holidays and, with city approval, having treats available for the children.
Erin, who is studying at Pierce College to become an occupational therapist, said the project gave her confidence to follow her dreams, and she’s happy that her work has brought smiles to adults and children alike.
“I didn’t think people would care too much,” she said, “but they really seemed to appreciate it.”