In a news release, the Lewis & Clark Chapter of the Illinois Society of Sons of the American Revolution announced it recently presented awards for heroism to five Chester firefighters who rescued a woman from the Mississippi River, and two Carlyle teenagers (Tucker Johnson and Tyler Guthrie) who rescued a man after his vehicle overturned into a pond.
The chapter recognized CFD firefighters Josh Ruch, Lorin Mott, Jeff Hammel, Scott Stirnaman and Glenn Andrews for saving a Makanda woman who jumped from the Chester Bridge the night of May 5, while the river was well above flood stage.
The chapter presented a medal to Hammel, who went into the water, and a certificate to the department with names of the other four who manned the boat.
The chapter also presented its 2017 Law Enforcement Award posthumously to Officer James Irwin Brockmeyer of the Chester Police Department.
Brockmeyer was 22 years old and had been on the CPD 10 months when he was fatally injured in a car accident October 28, 2016, while he was in pursuit of a fleeing driver he had attempted to stop.
During the chase, Brockmeyer's squad car ran off the side of Palestine Road north of the Gravel Creek Bridge and overturned, pinning him underneath the vehicle. He was extricated from the wreckage by his fellow CFD firefighters and later succumbed to his injuries at Chester Memorial Hospital.
The alleged driver Brockmeyer was pursuing, Jason Stoker, is scheduled to go to trial July 10 on charges related to the accident.
"I'm certain that Officer Brockmeyer had a complete understanding of public service, duty and sacrifice," said Brian Cutler, the Lewis & Clark Chapter's law enforcement chairman. "In 2016, 145 law enforcement officers lost their lives in the performance of their duties, and we honor every one of them as we honor Officer Brockmeyer."
Brockmeyer also served as a volunteer firefighter and Chester Fire Chief Marty Bert accepted the award on behalf of the Brockmeyer family.
"Officer James Brockmeyer served on the fire department for five years," Bert said. "He was instrumental in starting our program for the Explorers.
"James really enjoyed serving the community, so he eventually became a police officer, and he served the community well."