Excerpts from the ChicagoTribune.com:

Elgin Fire Chief David Schmidt was part of the original Elgin Area Firefighters Memorial ceremony 25 years ago, as was colleague and friend Steve Berry, and Elgin Fire Department Chaplain Roger Pollock.

This year’s memorial was especially bittersweet for Schmidt because Berry was among those being remembered Berry, who died in July 2016, was among 11 firefighters from seven area departments honored during Saturday’s 25th annual memorial service, held at George Van De Voorde Firefighter Memorial Park on the grounds of the Elgin Fire Barn No. 5 Museum on Bent Street.

Bells tolled for Berry and Robert F. Smith from the Elgin Fire Department; Thomas Mack and Ken Penkala from Bartlett Fire Department; Dennis Dwyer from Carpentersville Fire Department; Don Benchly, Ron Nussbaum and Don Oranger from Hampshire Fire Department; Robert Scholl from Hoffman Estates Fire Department; and Michael Mattoon from Rutland Dundee Fire Protection District. Freeport Firefighter Eric Kohlbauer, who died in the line of service, was also recognized.

A moment of silence was held for Elgin Police Officer Steve Jones, who died suddenly May 7. Schmidt said Jones was a friend to firefighters and will be missed.

The annual ceremony is a way for families to mourn their loved ones as well as heal, Schmidt said.

Elgin Mayor David Kaptain read a proclamation marking the day, which also included such traditions as the Last Alarm, reading of the “Fireman’s Prayer” and a performance of “Amazing Grace” on bagpipes.

Kathleen Mattoon attended the event with her 1-year-old daughter, Madison. She lost her husband Michael, a former Rutland Dundee firefighter, in January. Kathleen took photos of the ceremony to share with her daughter and to keep Michael’s memory alive.

“The fire service has been what has gotten Madison and me through every day,” said Mattoon, who attended the ceremony many times when growing up as the daughter of former West Dundee Fire Chief Frank Buhrmann. “The support they have given us is incredible.”

thanks Dan

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