BRIMFIELD, Ill. (WMBD) — Saturday morning, people in Brimfield remembered Fire Chief Bob Forney, who died Tuesday from COVID-19.
Two local firetrucks lifted their ladders, creating an archway for the funeral procession to pass underneath. An American flag hung from the ladders.
The procession began at the Brimfield Community Fire Protection District, where officers hoisted his casket from a hearse to the back of a firetruck. Friends and family gathered along the street to watch the procession as it headed toward the cemetery.
“Hopefully people will realize how much dedication he had to this town and to this fire department,” said Kevin Cheatham, friend and Assistant Fire Chief at the Bartonville Fire Department.
Chief Forney was a firefighter for 25 years. He also worked for Peoria County Highway Department and had four children, three of whom became firefighters.
“It’s just been very nice to see all the support and all the lives that my dad’s touched,” said Jacob Forney, Chief Forney’s son.
Some friends shared fond memories of Forney.
“Probably one of the most honest people I’ve ever met in my life,” said Greg Walters, Peoria Heights Fire Chief. “When you’d ask a question, you got the answer regardless of how tough it would be and I appreciate that greatly.”
Forney was also a regular at Rookie’s Sports Grill just down the street, who catered the funeral reception.
“He would come about three times a week. Definitely, on Thursday night, he did like our trivia night,” said Melissa Gilles, waitress and manager at Rookie’s. “He would always sit at this table, he had to be close to the salad bar, close to the kitchen, wherever the action was.”
Leaders at the local fire department says that his legacy will not be forgotten.
“There will be big shoes to fill, filling his fire boots,” said Cheathem.
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