SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — Governor J.B. Pritzker, lawmakers and family members honored some of the state’s fallen bravest heroes Tuesday.
Firefighters who lost their lives trying to keep others safe were recognized at the Capitol. State leaders reassured families the state is standing behind them during one of their darkest hours.
For nearly three decades, state leaders and firefighters honored those killed in the line of duty. This year, three fallen firefighters were honored.
“Their families did what other families do every day. They kissed their loved ones goodbye and they never returned home and it’s tragic. In almost every case, there is a young kid involved and it really is just the worse-case scenario,” said Springfield Fire Chief Allen Reyne.
Those honored were from Chicago, Christopher and Bethalto. Springfield Fire Chief Allen Reyne said the deaths were harder to deal with this time around.
“This year hit close to home for me, my hometown, Godfrey, was one of three departments that lost a member in the line of duty; Captain Ringering. I did not work with him. He came along after I left, but I spent ten years of my life in that department,” Reyne said.
Leaders addressing the families encouraged them through their own examples of overcoming tragedy.
“I lost my father when I was seven years old. Our time together was cut off far too soon, as is true of the children of those who sacrifices we honor today,” Governor Pritzker said.
“I thought the governor’s message was that of positivity; sharing his own story about losing his father at seven years old. I thought really helped those families to realize, it’s hard, but you can overcome this,” said Reyne.
After the ceremony, firefighters marched from the Capitol to the Bank of Springfield Center for a Medal of Honor program.