Wheatley was honored with a bronze medallion, which sits outside his former firehouse at 324 S. Des Plaines St. in Chicago. A ceremony was held Saturday to dedicate the honorary medallion—a tribute spearheaded by Chicago Alderman Bob Fioretti.
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.
Since his death, several family members have worked to set up the FF/PM Christopher D. Wheatley Memorial Foundation, which provides scholarships for students at Lemont High School.
Wheatley graduated from Lemont in 1997.
In May 2011, the foundation awarded its first two scholarships—one for a student-athlete and one for a student interested pursuing a career in medicine or fire science.
Last year, the foundation 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.
Today, the FF/PM Christopher D. Wheatley Memorial Foundation awards 13 scholarships to students at Lemont High School, the Romeoville Fire Academy, CFD Gold Badge Society and UIC Graham School of Medicine. The scholarships now total $23,000 annually.