By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Efforts are underway to raise money to erect a statute in South Philadelphia honoring Edward “Babe” Heffron, a World War II paratrooper whose heroism is well documented in the HBO series “Band of Brothers.” A big fundraiser is set for Tuesday.

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The late, great Babe Heffron grew up on 2nd Street in South Philadelphia and spent his life working the docks. But 70 years ago, Babe was a young soldier who parachuted into the fiery gun battle that helped liberate Holland during WWII.

“It’s important to see Babe as a 19-20 year old young Philadelphian who was going off to encounter the largest and most powerful army ever created as of that date…and beat them,” says Councilman Jim Kenney, who is leading effort to erect the $100,000 bronze statute. It will sit at 2nd and Reed at Herron Playground, a stone’s throw from where Babe grew up.

“The statute is based on a photograph of Babe in boot camp in training– he’s got that hat tipped swagger,” says Kenney, who says sculptor Terry Jones has been commissioned to create it. “We’re going to place Babe’s ashes inside the heart, which will then be permanently placed inside the statute.”

(credit: Patricia Zarel)

(credit: Patricia Zarel)

He says Heffron loved to inspire young people, which is why the statute will be erected at a playground.

“Babe was a young man at one time and gave up everything to risk his life to save democracy and to save the world,” says Kenney, “so twenty-somethings need to know that they can do something in the world– and Babe is a testament to that.”

“He had a huge personality and so many people loved him,” says Patricia Zarel, Heffron’s daughter. She says the outpouring of support to remember her dad is overwhelming.

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“People calling me and email me and wanting help and to donate,” she says, “He’s going to be remembered forever…and that’s a great thing.”

She says her dad loved South Philadelphia– so the family is so happy the statute will sit where he lived his life.

“It could not be in a better place,” says Zarel.

The Babe Heffron Memorial Fund, is hosted by the Philadelphia Foundation. So far, it’s raised roughly $25,000. There will be a fundraiser on Tuesday, November 11, at the Irish Pub at 1123 Walnut Street. For more information about that event, call 215-568-5603, or email

Anyone who wants to donate to the fund, click here: 

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