Fallen East Peoria Firefighters remembered & honored

Published: Oct. 1, 2023 at 4:27 PM CDT
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PEORIA (25News Now) - Though their deaths were decades ago, the East Peoria Fire Department honored the memory of four who died in the line of duty, the most recent of which was in 1980.

The ringing of the bells sounded the end of duty for four East Peoria firefighters who made the ultimate sacrifice.

”They can’t be forgotten,” says East Peoria Fire Chief Bobby Zimmerman and they won’t be.

Every year the East Peoria community wraps their hands around the families of these four men.

Assistant Chief Marvin J. Stein, Captain Armando Ballerini, and firefighters George Cornwell Sr. and William Folmar.

All four men died while protecting their communities.

“My father was Marvin J. Stein, and he was the one who lost his life in the Green Gables Tavern fire. I was three and a half years old, and I wish I would have known him better,” like Mary Jo Stein-Spencer, the families of the fallen gathered at Levee Park to pay their respects and remember their loved ones’ dedication to being a firefighter.

Now in its 37th year, the stories are their sacrifice are still living in the minds of their families.

“Now we’re into grandkids and great grandkids and they are still able to come and have a little piece of their memory in someone they never met.” Says Zimmerman.

“He was a hero. He liked being in the front. He was an Assistant Chief so he enjoyed being a firefighter and it was an exciting job and he loved doing it. I miss him dearly and someday I’ll see him again.”