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Five Sterling firefighters, including Ramos, honored for their sacrifice, bravery in three fires last year

SPRINGFIELD – The late Lt. Garrett Ramos and four other Sterling Fire Department firefighters were honored this morning at the 29th annual Fallen Firefighter Memorial and Medal of Honor Ceremony.

Ramos, 38, killed Dec. 4 fighting a house fire in Rock Falls, was one of four firefighters statewide to die in the line of duty last year, and the first in the Sterling Fire Department’s 150-year history.

The others were firefighter/paramedic Michael Pickering and firefighter MaShawn Plummer, both of the Chicago Fire Department, and firefighter Mehdi Mourad of the Wabash Fire Protection District, the state of Illinois said in a news release.

Ramos’ widow, Brittney Ramos, was presented with the “Death Duty Gold Badge” by Fire Marshal Matt Perez.

“This memorial is dedicated to the firefighters of Illinois, who have given their lives in the line of duty, and to those firefighters who heroically lead with courage, pride, and honor,” Gov. JB Pritzker said. “Michael, MaShawn, Medhi, and Garrett will live on in our memories, in the lives of those they’ve saved, and in the hearts of those they’ve touched. May their memories be a blessing.”

“Today at the Fallen Firefighter Memorial, we honored four of our bravest brothers who gave their lives in service to the people of Illinois,” Perez said. “We will be forever grateful for their courage and ultimate sacrifice in the performance of their duties. They put the lives of others ahead of their own, which is our highest calling.”

Three Sterling firefighters – Lt. Adrian Avelar and firefighters Lucas Pfister, and Jeff Kimpel received the Medal of Valor award, given for “an act of heroism or bravery that clearly demonstrated courage and dedication in the face of danger while in the performance of duty” during a Sept. 27 fire in the 1400 block of Johnson Avenue in which a 71-year-old man was killed and his wife seriously injured.

The man was trapped in the rear first-floor bedroom, but the firefighters were able to reach and retrieve him before he was taken to CGH Medical Center. He later was taken to Loyola Hospital, where he died.

In addition, Ramos and firefighter Nick Hammer received the Firefighter Excellence Award “for an act of service in the line of duty, demonstrating excellence and professionalism in service to their fellow Illinoisans,” in the Rock Falls Civic Plaza 1 fire that happened on March 5, the release said.

A woman died and about 100 residents temporarily were displaced by the fire in the nine-story Whiteside County Housing Authority’ building, which houses many low-income elderly and disabled people, whom the firefighters also helped evacuate.

“As firefighters, our members took an oath to protect the citizens and property of the various communities across Illinois. Each one of us take that oath very seriously,” said Chuck Sullivan, president of Associated Fire Firefighters of Illinois.

”Today we honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. We will never ever forget them or their families. We also honor those whose actions went above and beyond the call of duty.

“While they will all say they were ‘just doing their job,’ we all know it takes courage, guts and determination to do this job. The Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois proudly stands with our brothers, sisters and their families on this day, and every day.”

The awards presented today recognized heroic actions during 2021. Nominations were reviewed and winners selected by the Illinois Fire Fighting Medal of Honor Committee.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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