Homer firefighter who died in line of duty honored
A firefighter who died in the line of duty while serving in the Homer Fire Protection District was among those honored Tuesday during an annual awards ceremony and memorial in Springfield.
The family of John “Mike” Cummins was recognized by State Fire Marshal Matt Perez, who presented them with the Duty Death Gold Badge. The family of Lawrence Matthews of the Village of Dolton Fire Department also received the same award.
Another firefighter from the South Suburbs, Firefighter/Paramedic Mark Buettner of the Bolingbrook Fire Department, received recognition for dedication to the fire service, according to an Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal news release.
Firefighters from all around Illinois attended the 25th Annual Illinois Fallen Firefighter Memorial and Firefighting Medal of Honor Awards Ceremony, honoring individuals for actions performed in 2017.
Nine firefighters statewide received the Medal of Valor, which is awarded for “an act of heroism or bravery that clearly demonstrated courage and dedication in the face of danger while in the performance of duty.”
In addition, two firefighters received the Medal of Honor – the highest recognition for selfless and courageous acts "above and beyond the call of duty" – and 14 received the Firefighter Excellence Award, which recognizes acts of service.
Six fire units received Firefighter Excellence "Teamwork Unit Citation" Awards.
Medal of Honor:
– Lieutenant Eric Schrage, Collinsville Fire Department
– Paramedic Todd Zobrist, Highland Fire/EMS
Medal of Valor:
– Captain Daniel Whiteside, Alton Fire Department
– Firefighter Aaron Pihl, Belvidere Fire Department
– Lieutenant Shawn Schadle, Belvidere Fire Department
– Firefighter Jeff Vaughan, Belvidere Fire Department
– Firefighter Eric Claudio, Chicago Fire Department
– Lieutenant/EMT John O’Brien, Chicago Fire Department
– Firefighter/Paramedic Andrew Hoff, Downers Grove Fire Department
– Firefighter/Paramedic Scott Sohn, Downers Grove Fire Department
– Firefighter/Paramedic Quinn Triplett, Downers Grove Fire Department
Firefighter Excellence Award:
– Firefighter Mark Beck, Belvidere Fire Department
– Firefighter James Kriebs, Belvidere Fire Department
– Firefighter Jason Swanson, Belvidere Fire Department
– Firefighter Nicolas Thornton, Belvidere Fire Department
– Captain Mark Zumbragel, Belvidere Fire Department
– Firefighter/Paramedic Michael Covelli, Downers Grove Fire Department
– Firefighter/Paramedic Kevin Schrader, Downers Grove Fire Department
– Paramedic Ty Barr, Highland Fire/EMS
– Firefighter Ben Bentley, Peru Fire Department
– Firefighter Alex Duncan, Peru Fire Department
– Lieutenant Neil Nadolski, Peru Fire Department
– Engineer Kris Ayers, Wood River Fire Department
– Engineer Bill Hall, Wood River Fire Department
– Firefighter Jamie Wells, Wood River Fire Department
Firefighter Excellence "Teamwork Unit Citation" Awards:
– Blue Island Fire Department
– Broadview Fire Department
– Chicago Heights Fire Department
– North Chicago Fire Department
– Orland Fire Protection District
– Pana Fire Department
Certificate of Recognition:
– Firefighter/Paramedic Mark Buettner, Bolingbrook Fire Department