Springfield, Ill- Governor JB Pritzker and State Fire Marshal Matt Perez today joined firefighters to remember seven fallen members at the 28th Annual Fallen Firefighter Memorial and Medal of Honor Ceremony. During the ceremony, the Governor and Fire Marshall also honored firefighters who went above and beyond on the job, displaying courage, pride and honor while protecting communities across the state. 

“Today we honor some of our state’s most heroic public servants – united as much by their courage to serve as their bond to their colleagues and communities. We all live in a safer world because our firefighters respond to our communities’ most daunting emergencies unwaveringly and unselfishly,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Firefighters are compelled — out of an unwritten commitment to service without limits born out of both their innate sense of responsibility and compassion — to do all that they can for all who need it.” 

“Our fire departments did not flinch when called to the frontlines of the pandemic, serving their communities even in the face of a deadly virus,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “In doing so they sacrifice many of the everyday moments the rest of us sometimes take for granted: hours and holidays with family or enjoying time with neighbors and friends – all to keep our communities safe. And of course: they dive into duty knowing they risk the ultimate sacrifice.”

“Today we finally get to honor our seven brothers and their families who made the ultimate sacrifice protecting the communities that they loved. It has been a difficult past year and a half and I can’t thank the members of the Illinois Fire Service enough for their dedication, courage and honor as they continued serving their communities throughout the pandemic,” said Illinois State Fire Marshal Matt Perez.

Loved ones of the fallen firefighters were presented with the Death Duty Gold Badge by the Fire Marshall during the ceremony. This year’s honorees include:

• Firefighter Jacob “Jake” Ringering of the Godfrey Fire Protection District
• Firefighter Kody Vanfossan of the Christopher Fire Department
• Firefighter Mario Araujo of the Chicago Fire Department
• Firefighter/Paramedic Dylan Cunningham of the South Holland Fire Department
• Firefighter/Paramedic Robert Reisinger of the River Grove Fire Department
• Firefighter Edward Singleton of the Chicago Fire Department
• Paramedic Robert Truevillian of the Chicago Fire Department

“Our 15,000+ members took an oath to serve and protect the citizens and visitors of this state. Every day of the year they put their lives on the line and every year some have paid the ultimate sacrifice,” said Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois President Chuck Sullivan. “Today, we honor seven of our brothers and their families. We will never forget them and what they mean to us.”

Additionally, three firefighters were honored with the Medal of Valor award. The award is given by the State of Illinois to a firefighter for an act of heroism or bravery that clearly demonstrated courage and dedication in the face of danger while in the performance of duty. Recipients include:

• Firefighter Lance Lusk, Canton Fire Department
• Firefighter/EMT Darryl Jones, Chicago Fire Department
• Firefighter/EMT Ryan Quinn, Chicago Fire Department

Fourteen firefighters received the Firefighter Excellence Award for an act of service in the line of duty, demonstrating excellence and professionalism in service to their fellow Illinoisans.  Recipients include:

Galesburg Fire Department

• Firefighter Joseph Brignall
• Firefighter Kyle Harms

Gorham Volunteer Fire Department

• Chief Ronald Guetersloh

Lockport Township Fire Protection District

• Firefighter/PM Josh Hertzmann
• Firefighter/PM Zach Toepper
• Lieutenant Philip Hutto
• Firefighter/PM Jason Pawlowski
• Firefighter/PM Joseph Schwinger
• Firefighter/PM James Baumgartner
• Firefighter/PM Nicholas Felber

South Elgin/Countryside Fire Protection District

• Captain Matt Starr
• Lieutenant Richard Stumbaugh
• Firefighter/PM Chris Elliott
• Firefighter/PM Steven Diehl

In addition, five units received the Firefighter Excellence “Unit Citation” Awards for an act of service in the line of duty, demonstrating excellence, teamwork, and professionalism in service to Illinois residents. Recipients include:

Arthur Fire Department, Incident # 20-0301200

• Firefighter Eric Gingerich  
• Firefighter Clint Herschberger 
• Firefighter Lamar Hostetler  
• Firefighter Elmer Miller 

Bolingbrook Fire Department, Incident # 20-03415

• Lieutenant Sergio Calleros  
• Lieutenant David Proffitt  
• Firefighter/PM Mark Patrick 

Canton Fire Department, Incident # 20-0002218

• Lieutenant Clark Evans  
• Firefighter Cody Cheatham  
• Firefighter Jake Leake   

Gorham Volunteer Fire Department, Incident # 20-20004

• 2nd Lieutenant Sam Baumgarte 
• 1st Lieutenant Phillip Bonneville 
• Firefighter Bryce Mueller  
• Firefighter Logan Roe   

South Elgin/Countryside Fire Protection District, Incident # 20-0002649
Ambulance 22

• Firefighter/PM Matt Dalbke
• Firefighter/EMT Kevin Henryson

Engine 21

• Firefighter/PM Robert Rimgale 

Engine 22

• Lieutenant Mitchell Krasowski 
• Firefighter/PM Neal Lippold  
• Firefighter/PM Brian Sloan

Tower 21

• Firefighter/PM Dustin Differding 
• Firefighter/PM Jon Pollock

  
The State Fire Marshal Life Safety Award is given in recognition of the extraordinary efforts performed by individuals in furtherance of fire prevention and life safety. Three Life Safety Awards were presented. Recipients include:

• Lieutenant Edward Dunne, Evergreen Park Fire Department – Fire Department
• Dan Bauer, OSFM Personnel- Operation
• Dale Simpson, OSFM Personnel- Administration

Last year’s memorial was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and award recipients were honored during individual ceremonies. The awards presented today recognized heroic actions during 2020. Nominations were reviewed and winners selected by the Illinois Fire Fighting Medal of Honor Committee.

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Author: Editor
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