CLINTON — Tributes for fallen Clinton Fire Lt. Eric Hosette and injured firefighter Adam Cain are continuing to illuminate the Gateway area.
One grand-scale tribute in particular greets those traveling by 3753 220th St., just west of Elvira, and is proudly displayed by Low Moor firefighter Jerome Burken. What was once a red and white Christmas candy cane display adorning the side of his 80-foot-tall Harvester silo has now gone entirely red, lighting up the property as a sign of continued support for the Clinton Fire Department.
This week, Burken explained the symbolism of the display, and the importance of letting the department, as well as friends and family of Hosette and Cain know that they are not forgotten.
"I originally had the idea of getting rid of the white lights and turning the entire thing red for Eric, but then decided to keep it on now for Adam," Burken said. "I keep it on 24 hours a day as a reminder of them and the families."
Burken, like hundreds of others, mourned Hosette's death during a public memorial service Saturday at Riverview Park in Clinton. The Low Moor Fire Department sent two of its trucks to the memorial service as it remembered the ultimate sacrifice Hosette made Jan. 5 when he was killed fighting a fire and explosion at Archer Daniels Midland.
For Burken and his fellow firefighters, the loss was a reminder of the dangers of the job, something that few people will ever experience firsthand.
"When you're actually involved, close to it, you have a different perspective than other people," Burken said. "Once you're right there, it's a different understanding."