Illinois Pays Tribute to Fallen Firefighters in Annual Memorial Ceremony

State leaders gathered in Springfield on May 14 to attend the 31st Annual Fallen Firefighter Memorial and Medal of Honor Ceremony.

The service and ceremony were held at the Bank of Springfield Center, bringing together scores of firefighters from across Illinois to honor and remember their fallen brothers and sisters.

This occasion included a tribute to five Illinois firefighters who died in the line of duty last year:

Chicago Firefighter/EMT Jermaine Pelt
Chicago Fire Lt. Jan Tchoryk
Chicago Fire Lt. Kevin Ward
Chicago Firefighter/EMT Andrew “Drew” Price
And Maroa Countryside Fire Protection District Chief Larry Peasley

Another 12 firefighters from around the state were honored with medals of honor or valor for acts of outstanding bravery. Among those honored was Metropolis Fire Department Captain Clay Childers who received the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal’s Medal of Valor.

In October 2023, Captain Childers entered a structure fire in Metropolis, where he discovered a woman suffering from smoke inhalation. Captain Childers, without the aid of a water source, rescued the woman from the flames. With medical treatment, her life was saved. 

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, the toll on firefighters’ lives continues to rise, with 25 casualties recorded already this year in the United States. Among them was an Aurora firefighter who tragically lost their life in the line of duty just last month.
Dale Fowler

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