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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 6, 2014

Governor Quinn Honors Illinois Firefighters During Annual State Capitol Ceremony
Governor Honors Two Fallen Firefighters and 44 Others for Life-Saving Acts of Bravery

SPRINGFIELD – Governor Pat Quinn today was joined by State Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis and firefighters from across the state to honor Illinois’ fallen firefighters and those who performed life-saving acts of bravery this year. The recognitions were part of the 21st Annual Illinois Fallen Firefighter Memorial and Firefighter Medal of Honor Awards Ceremony at the Illinois State Capitol. The ceremony paid tribute to two firefighters who died in the line of duty and recognized 44 firefighters or departments for acts of bravery within their communities.

“The bravery demonstrated by the firefighters being recognized here today proves that it takes an extraordinary person to be in this profession,” Governor Quinn said. “It’s important that we thank and recognize these men and women who put their lives on the line – day in and day out – to protect us. Let us reflect on and honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.”

Two firefighters who died in, or as a result of, the performance of duty were honored during the ceremonies as their families were presented with the Duty Death Gold Badge. Those recognized include the late Chris Brown, a firefighter with the Hudson Community Fire Protection District and Bloomington Fire Department, along with the late Lawrence “Lance” Stone, a firefighter with the West Union Community Fire Protection District.

“Today we’re also reminded of the dangers of this noble profession, as we solemnly honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice and lost their lives in the line of duty,” Fire Marshal Matkaitis said. “I am proud to thank each firefighter for their dedication to public safety.”

The Medal of Honor Award, the highest award given to firefighters by the state of Illinois, was presented to seven firefighters who were selected for their acts of outstanding bravery or heroism, by which they demonstrated selflessness and personal courage above and beyond the call of duty, under adverse conditions, with the possibility of extreme personal risk. Recipients include:

  • Chicago Fire Department: Lieutenant/EMT John Majka, Firefighter Michael Kappel, Captain/EMT Mauricio Rodriguez, Firefighter/EMT James Wagner
  • Firefighter/PM Travis Hasselbacher, Copperas Creek Fire Department
  • Captain Derek Perry, Galesburg Fire Department
  • Battalion Chief Dan Schiradelly, Oswego Fire Department

Twelve firefighters were recognized for acts of heroism or bravery that clearly demonstrated courage and dedication in the face of danger. Medal of Valor Award recipients include:

  • Lieutenant Frank DiGiovanni, Bolingbrook Fire Department
  • Chicago Fire Department: Firefighter/EMT Joseph Atkins, Firefighter/EMT Cedric Collins, Firefighter/EMT Michael Diete, Lieutenant/EMT Ronald Ellingsen, Captain/EMT Alfred Kiefer, Firefighter/EMT Kevin Martin, Firefighter John McClorey, Firefighter John Veller
  • Captain Jeffrey Hott, Decatur Fire Department
  • Firefighter/Paramedic Chris Gottschalk, Highland Park Fire Department
  • Fire Chief Michael Vaughn, Washington Fire Department

Seventeen firefighters and departments received the Firefighter Excellence Award for an act of service in the line of duty, demonstrating excellence and professionalism in service to the citizens of the state of Illinois. Recipients include:

  • Alton Fire Department
  • Argenta-Oreana Fire Protection District
  • Director Julie Barclay, Cass-Putnam Rescue Services of Cuba, Illinois
  • Chicago Fire Department: Firefighter/EMT Sean Butler, Firefighter/EMT Jason Flores, Fire Paramedic Edward Gilbride, Firefighter/Paramedic Anthony Licato, Engineer/EMT John Meade, Firefighter Robert Murphy
  • Cisco Fire Protection District
  • Firefighter Matt Lewis, Galesburg Fire Department
  • Gardner Fire Protection District: Firefighter Kaylee Bain, Lieutenant Joe Yates
  • Hinsdale Fire Department: Firefighter/Paramedic Daniel Majewski, Firefighter/Paramedic Donald Newberry
  • Lincolnshire-Riverwoods Fire Protection District
  • West Frankfort Fire Department

A Certificate of Recognition Award was presented to the following for dedication to the principles and traditions of the fire service:

  • Chicago Fire Department: Firefighter/EMT Edtismond Johnson, Firefighter Joseph White III
  • Firefighter Brock Dieu, Danville Fire Department
  • Hinsdale Fire Department: Lieutenant William Claybrook, Captain David DeWolf, Firefighter-Paramedic Nicholas McDonough, Firefighter/Paramedic James Nichols, Firefighter-Paramedic Steven Tullis

Nominations were reviewed and winners selected by the Illinois Fire Fighting Medal of Honor Committee.



RAW TAPEFirefighters Remembrance ceremony at the State Capitol. Audio includes State Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis and Governor Pat Quinn.

RAW TAPEQ & A w/Governor Pat Quinn.


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