Western Illinois University: Macomb Campus
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Relationship Between WIU and Firefighters Commemorated in Brick
June 3, 2009
MACOMB, IL -- You could say that firefighters and Western Illinois University have a rock solid relationship. Perhaps "brick" solid would be a better way to put it, as the relationship between fire service personnel and Western Illinois University is forever commemorated through a brick inscribed with WIU's logo, which has been placed in the Walk of Honor at the recently constructed National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Park at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, MD.
The relationship between members of the fire service field and WIU is forged through WIU's unique Board of Trustees Bachelor of Arts (BOT/BA) Degrees at a Distance Program (DDP) that, according to BOT/BA Director Richard Carter, enables fire service personnel from across the United States to earn a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution without losing time on the job.
"Western Illinois University's BOT/BA degree program is one of the seven original Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education (FESHE) institutions and programs selected to charter the DDP, a higher education project of the National Fire Academy," explained Carter. "The program provides online access to higher education for all fire service personnel, and the National Fire Academy selected WIU as one of seven institutions because of the BOT/BA degree program and its flexibility. WIU has been affiliated with the National Fire Academy's DDP since its inception in 1980," he added.
Last weekend, Carter attended the 11th Annual FESHE Conference in Emmitsburg and took the opportunity to see WIU's donated brick at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Site.
"Our Western Illinois University brick has been very appropriately placed in a center pod next to the FESHE seal. Such a node is reserved for the FESHE community. A bronze plaque bearing the FESHE program mark is centered within the node and surrounded by bricks purchased by colleges and universities that have academic fire programs and state fire training academies," Carter said.
According to Carter, bricks will continue to be added to the park in Emmitsburg, and work continues on various memorial plazas, as well as on the visitors' information center.
"It is the first permanent park in the U.S. that honors all members of the fire service, and plaques around the monument bear the names of more than 2,900 firefighters who have died in the line of duty since 1981," explained Ronald Jon Siarnicki, executive director of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. "When completed, the landscaped walkway will connect the different sections of Memorial Park -- the National Monument, the historical Fallen Firefighters Chapel and the Memorial Plaza," he added.
"It is a true honor to know that Western continues to be an active part of preparing future firefighters and leaders within the fire services field," Carter noted. "Our investment in the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation for this brick serves as a statement of importance of education in changing the culture of firefighter safety."
For more information about WIU's BOT/BA degree program, visit wiu.edu/BOTdegree or contact Carter at (309) 298-1929 or R-Carter@wiu.edu. Learn more about the Degrees at a Distance Program (DDP) at wiu.edu/ses/distance and about the Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education project at usfa.dhs.gov/nfa/higher_ed/feshe/feshe_ddp.shtm.
Posted By: Teresa Koltzenburg, University Relations
Phone: (309) 298-1993 * Fax: (309) 298-1606