MAIN STREET CLOSED, IN BOTH DIRECTIONS, BETWEEN UNIVERSITY AND ELMWOOD
Fallen Fire Fighter Honored
Peoria Fire Fighters gathered to honor the memory of one of their own.
Capt. Vernon "Butch" Gudat was killed on Jan. 23, 1983 while fighting a fire at the Main Street Apartments. No member of the Peoria Fire Department has died in the line of duty in the 31 years since, but his fellow fire fighters still remember his sacrifice.
Despite frigid temperatures, about 60 people attended a memorial service at Lutheran Cemetary on Thursday afternoon.
"We're a family, and this proves it," said Chief Kent Tomblin, "We may disagree sometimes, and we may have our arguments, but at the end of the day, we're a strong family."
The day of memory doesn't stop at Capt. Gudat's gravesite.
"The Butch Gudat Fund provides scholarships to fire fighters' children and grandchildren, and also grants for fire prevention," Chief Tomblin said.
The 2014 scholarships were awarded to Jaeden Barlow of Dunlap and Lisa Hawotte of Peoria. A fire prevention grant of $750 was also awarded Thursday to the Peoria Fire Department. Since the Butch Gudat Fund was created seven years ago, it has given out $24,000 in scholarships and $6,500 in grants.