More than 200 golfers and volunteers turned out to honor fallen Chicago firefighter Christopher Wheatley during a memorial golf outing Wednesday.
The FF/PM Christopher D. Wheatley Memorial Foundation held its second annual fundraiser at Cog Hill Golf Club, 12294 Archer Ave. The event featured 18 holes of golf, an informal dinner, raffles and a silent auction.
All proceeds will be used to fund scholarships in Wheatley's honor.
"We're very happy with the turnout, and grateful that all of these people continue to support the foundation," said Mary Wheatley, Christopher's mom.
The Lemont Firemen's Association was on hand Wednesday with its antique fire engine, the 1938 Peter Pirsch Pumper. The Schaumburg-based Remembrance Rescue Project brought "Rescue 5," a heavy-duty fire truck used by 10 New York City firefighters who died at the World Trade Center on 9/11.
"We're extremely honored to have it here with us," Mary Wheatley said of the FDNY engine.
Christopher Wheatley died in August 2010 while fighting a restaurant blaze in Chicago's West Loop. The 31-year-old Lemont native was the first Chicago firefighter to die while battling a fire in more than 12 years.
Almost immediately after his death, several family members set up a scholarship fund for students at Lemont High School, from which Christopher graduated in 1997.
In May 2011, the foundation awarded its first two $1,000 scholarships—one for a student-athlete and one for a student interested pursuing a career in medicine or fire science.
This year, the foundation again awarded scholarships to a pair of Lemont High School seniors, but also expanded the program to include two scholarships for children of firefighters and paramedics, and another for a cadet in the Romeoville Fire Academy.
"The outpouring of love and support for our family after Christopher died was truly remarkable," Mary Wheatley told Patch in February.
"Thanks to the generosity of our friends and the Chicago Fire Department, we're able to keep building on this scholarship program, which I know would make Christopher so happy," she said.
This May, two additional scholarships were funded through the Gold Badge Society of Chicago, an organization comprised of families of fallen firefighters and paramedics.
A $1,000 scholarship was awarded to a college student, and will recur annually for four years. A $500 scholarship was also awarded to a high school student, recurring annually for four years.
Earlier this year, Mary Wheatley said she was also working with the Romeoville Fire Academy to set up a scholarship that would assist those who have completed EMT/paramedic training and are entering the fire science program.
Christopher Wheatley briefly worked for the Romeoville Fire Department under the leadership of current Lemont Fire Chief Carl Churulo before heading to the Chicago Fire Department.
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