Rauner honors 'sacrifice of two hero firefighters' at memorial service
The families of two firefighters who died in the line received the Duty Death Gold Badge in honor of their lost loved ones at the 24th Annual Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service on Tuesday.
Capt. Eric Kohlbauer of Freeport and Kenneth Harris, an Oak Park firefighter and paramedic, paid the highest price while in their service to the community. Gov. Bruce Rauner and State Fire Marshall Matt Perez honored their sacrifice during the ceremony.
"Every day, our firefighters put their lives on the line to protect our families," Rauner said. "Today we honor and remember the sacrifice of two hero firefighters who paid the ultimate sacrifice to keep our communities safe. Our firefighters are true public servants, and like all our first responders, are among the best and most honorable men and women in our state."
Rauner and Perez also honored 36 firefighters and their units for heroic acts by awarding them the Fire Fighting Medal of Honor.
“Our firefighters are the best of the best who serve with courage and bravery,” Perez said. “Today we recognize those who went above and beyond the call of duty of service. They are heroes who performed lifesaving measures in the face of tremendous danger. We honor our fallen comrades who gave the ultimate sacrifice to protect their fellow firefighters and Illinoisans. We will never forget their bravery and legacy.”