ALTON, IL - A fallen hero was honored Monday as family and friends gathered to say goodbye to firefighter Jake Ringering. The Godfrey Fire Captain was killed while battling a fire last week.
The visitation is taking place at St. Mary's Catholic Church where there has been a steady line of people to pay respects to fallen firefighter 37-year-old Jake Ringering.
A flag is at half-staff outside the church and a fire truck with a flag waving in tribute to a hero.
Those in attendance say the powerful ties that bind firefighters all over the nation were evident Monday.
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker has ordered all flags at state buildings in Illinois to be flown at half-staff Monday and Tuesday in honor of fallen firefighter Captain Jake Ringering.
“He was a wonderful young man, he continued in his dad footsteps and his grandpa footsteps. Firefighters everyone who knew him, was lucky to know him,” Susie Pruetzel
Members of the community, fellow firefighters and family members say Ringering touched everyone's heart and will be missed, “Jake was gold, he embodied this department, people joined this department because of Jake and people wanted to be like Jake,” said Fire Chief Erik Kambarian.
Ringering was killed last Tuesday when the roof collapsed at a house fire he was fighting in Bethalto.
While fire crews were fighting the flames a portion of the structure collapsed and a wall fell on Ringering. Three other firefighters were also injured in that fire.
Ringering had been a firefighter for 18 years. He was the department's technical rescue officer and also taught at Lewis and Clark Community College. He leaves behind a wife and three kids.
“If we had a time machine and we could go back we would, but we have to live with this now
and make our department stronger and never forget that Jake is going to be with us,” said Kabardian.
Visitation for Ringering will be Monday, March 11 from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Alton. His funeral will be on March 12 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church at 10 am.
After the funeral, he will be taken from the church to Valhalla Memorial Park.
To see the precession route map, click on the Godfrey Fire Protection District Facebook Page.