Rudman Befriends Police ‘Friend’ Statue

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KAL & LUCILLE RUDMAN, holding plaques commemorating their history of contributions as true “friends” of Phila. Police Dept., attended rededication of statue titled “A Friend” at Police Administration Building. In photo are Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey; artist’s widow, Inge Parks, seated, widow of statue’s sculptor. Photo by Randex Communications

KAL & LUCILLE RUDMAN, holding plaques commemorating their history of contributions as true “friends” of Phila. Police Dept., attended rededication of statue titled “A Friend” at Police Administration Building. In photo are Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey; artist’s widow, Inge Parks, seated, widow of statue’s sculptor. Photo by Randex Communications

The iconic bronze statue entitled “A Friend”, which has long suffered the ravages of Philadelphia’s extreme weather changes and had been deteriorating in front of Police Headquarters at 7th & Race Streets, has found its own friend in philanthropist and humanitarian Kal Rudman.

The Police Dept. and the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy recently celebrated the restoration of the sculpture in a rededication at the foot of the statue made possible by a donation from Kal & Lucille Rudman. Both attended the event, together with Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, Inge Parks (the artist’s widow) and numerous other officials.

The bronze sculpture, by artist Charles Cropper Parks (1922-2012), depicts a standing uniformed police officer holding a small child in his arms, symbolizing the protective role of the police officer in the community. The sculpture was commissioned by the City of Philadelphia Percent for Arts Program. The artist was a native of Wilmington, Del. who attended the University of Delaware and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and created over 500 sculptures during his career.

The restoration was undertaken to halt deterioration of the bronze, to improve the appearance of the sculpture, and to prevent future deterioration of the metal. The work was undertaken by the Philadelphia Firm of Materials Conservation Collaborative LLC, and took four weeks to complete.

Kal & Lucille Rudman Foundation, over the years has proven to be an “honored friend” of the Police Dept. through numerous philanthropic contributions. The statue’s restoration came about after Kal Rudman was personally contacted by Commissioner Ramsey. Rudman acted immediately to the Commissioner’s outreach, no questions asked.

They were desperate,” Rudman recalls. “The poor condition of the statue made police entering the Police Administration Building (the Roundhouse) and the employees, who had to look at it every day from the windows, feel the police were no longer considered a friend of the people.

“Several campaigns to raise the money to repair the statue were started, but could not net the funds needed, so they never were able to get it done.”

Now, once again, "A Friend" indeed.

Now, once again, “A Friend” indeed.

The statue is now restored to its original condition, when it was first installed in 1977. In a response befitting his reputation as “Philadelphia’s Guardian Angel.”

Parks, who was on hand at the statue’s original unveiling, returned for the rededication. “It’s remarkable how it changed from all those years of air pollution and whatever, but it looks as if it was just placed here today,” she said. “It looks brand-new. I know Charles would be delighted to be here today, and he is in spirit.” Commissioner Ramsey, in his rededication speech, lauded Rudman for his latest efforts on behalf of the Philadelphia police: “Kal said he would take care of the job right away,” said the Commissioner. “He never once asked me how much I thought it would cost.

“The name of the statue is also the name this Police Dept. has given to Kal Rudman. Our Honorable Deputy Police Commissioner is ‘the friend’ of the Philadelphia Police Dept.”

Kal & Lucille Rudman were presented with a large plaque which contained a list of the many contributions they have given over the years to the Police Dept. Among them are providing annual scholarships for Officers to take courses at Community College of Philadelphia; paying for the purchase and training of K-9 dogs; paying for Harley-Davidson motorcycles; and paying for horses in the park division.

In addition to his support of the Police Dept., Kal has helped curb crime another way. Over the past 20 years he has worked closely with John Appledorn of the Citizens Crime Commission, contributing heavily to the rewards for felons tipped on 6ABC and many other CCC programs.

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