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Community comes together to remember Peoria’s last fallen firefighter


PEORIA (HOI) - Saturday the community came together at Lutheran Cemetery to remember Peoria's last fallen firefighter.

Captain Vernon “Butch” Gudat lost his life 38 years ago fighting a Main St. apartment complex fire in downtown Peoria.

Gudat served the Peoria fire department for 16 years, and his children said if their father was still around he would be shocked and honored to have seen all those gathered to remember him.

"We come here every year to honor him, to respect him and to say thanks for all of his brothers that he served with, and those who currently serve." said Captain Vernon “Butch” Gudat's son, Mike Gudat.

Gudat's legacy lives on through scholarships that are awarded every year,
and one of this years winners is John Harris, a senior at Richwood's High School.

Harris said it's an honor to receive the award and follow in Gudat's footsteps.

"To be able to win and have a future career hopefully being a firefighter, I just think it makes sense it for me," said Harris. "This is the one I wanted to win."

$42,000 worth of scholarships have been given in Gudat's name.

Andie Bernhardt

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