This weekend marks the 31st National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service in Emmitsburg, Maryland. The national remembrance service will be held Sunday, October 7th, 2012 and will honor the 80 firefighters who died in 2011 and an additional five firefighters who died in previous years.
Please take a moment this weekend to remember our firefighters and all public safety officials. These men and women put their lives on the line every day. They know when they go to work there is always the chance that they won’t come home. They do the jobs that many of us couldn’t dream of doing and are truly our heroes.
I have always been a proud supporter of labor and public safety and have worked hard to ensure that those who protect us are protected under Illinois laws. Over the years, I have sponsored legislation that increases the safety of emergency responders to traffic accidents and increases the penalties for drivers who violate laws which endanger emergency personnel. Additionally, I sponsored legislation creating the Volunteer Firefighter Job Protection Act, which prohibits a volunteer firefighter from being disciplined at their paying job for being late or missing work due to responding to an emergency call out. I have also worked to help secure funding and for various fire departments in my district and fought to allow firefighters to seek charitable donations in smaller communities.
This year, three firefighters from Illinois will be honored at the National Memorial; Daniel Dare of the Avon Fire Protection District, Patrick Hannon of the Chicago Fire Department and Corey Ray Shaw from right here in Southern Illinois’ Du Quoin Fire Department.
Their names will be etched on bronze plaques and will be added to the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial. The Memorial, which was established in 1981, now lists the names of more than 3,600 firefighters who have been killed in the line of duty.
This weekend, I ask that everyone join me in remembering our fallen firefighters, both in Illinois and across the nation. Please remember to lower the American flags at your homes, local fire departments, and businesses. Encourage all members of your local community to follow your example. I also ask that all fire stations, especially those in Southern Illinois, sound their sirens at noon on Sunday to honor their fallen brethren.
When you lower your flag this year, you will recognize the brave men and women who died protecting our communities from emergencies and disasters and those who are brave enough to carry on this proud tradition.
Years served: 2001-2003 (House); 2003 - Present (Senate)
Committee assignments: Energy; Labor and Commerce (Chairperson); Licensed Activities and Pensions; Committee of the Whole; Subcommittee on Natural Resources.
Biography: Born January 4, 1945, in Anna, Illinois. Full-time state legislator; former farmer and businessman; past chairman, Franklin County Board; former member, Franklin - Williamson Human Services Board; current member, Southern Illinois Workforce Man-Tra-Con Board, Operating Engineers and Laborers' International unions.