SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Firefighter Memorial Foundation, administered through the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal (OSFM), supports educational opportunities for the children and spouses of firefighters who lost their lives in the line of duty.
“We know we can never replace the lost parent or spouse, but we can at least provide the loved ones with the finances to achieve heights that would not be possible otherwise,” said Foundation President Terry Ford. “It’s the least we can do for those families.”
Mount Prospect-resident Sarah McKillop is a recent beneficiary of the Foundation. Her father, Lt. Stuart McKillop, a 26-year veteran of the Mount Prospect Fire Department, died in the line of duty in 1994 when Sarah was only 7 years old.
“We really had no idea what college I could go to,” said McKillop. “Thankfully, when my mother contacted the fund, we found out that they would cover any college, even out of state.”
Ms. McKillop, who has already earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Carthage College in Kenosha, Wis., is now pursuing a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Illinois at Chicago. McKillop also was able to study abroad in Germany, Poland and England.
“Without the scholarship, I would not have been able to attend the college of my dreams, the college that best fit me. Going to Carthage with the assistance of the fund opened many doors for me. While my father might not be with me right now, I know he would be proud of the Foundation and what it has given to me. It is nice to have the support of the Foundation behind me.” McKillop said.
The Illinois Firefighter Memorial Foundation was created by the State of Illinois in 1993 to support educational opportunities for the children of firefighters who lost their lives in the line of duty. The scholarship has since been expanded to also include the spouse of a lost firefighter. The program is funded through direct donations, the sale of firefighter license plates, and donations for engraved paving bricks around the Illinois Fallen Firefighter Memorial in Springfield.
For more information, Please contact Illinois Firefighter Memorial Foundation President Terry Ford at (217) 785-7487.