Chicago firefighter honored with posthumous degree from SIU-Carbondale
CARBONDALE, Ill. (KFVS) - Chicago Fire Department Captain Ronald Regan Jr. was honored with a posthumous degree from Southern Illinois University Carbondale Friday morning, Sept. 16.
According to a release, Regan passed away on Dec. 19, 2021 at the age of 58 after a fight with COVID-19.
Regan was just one semester away from earning his bachelor’s degree in public safety management.
During a ceremony in front of the Chicago Fire Academy, Regan was remembered by fellow firefighters, family members, friends, and SIU representatives.
“Ron was not just a firefighter or captain, he was a friend,” Fire Commissioner Annette Nance-Holt said. “He did so much for everybody else. He never thought about himself.”
SIU Carbondale Chancellor Austin A. Lane, SIU System President Dan Mahony, and College of Health and Human Sciences Dean Robert Morgan presented the diploma.
“Ron embodied both the spirit of a firefighter and the spirit of a Saluki,” Chancellor Lane said. “His commitment to bravery, along with the vision, tenacity, curiosity, and compassion of Saluki, form a remarkable combination worthy of celebration and remembrance.”
Regan’s wife, Cheryl, was unable to attend the ceremony, so his daughter, Qianna, accepted his diploma and spoke on the family’s behalf.
“My dad inspired me, and it’s amazing to see how he inspired others,” she said.
SIU says Regan started his career in the Chicago Park District, where he built successful swim teams.
He later moved on to the Chicago Fire Department Academy, graduating in 1996 and beginning his career at Truck 40.
Over the years, Regan rose through the ranks of firefighter, engineer, lieutenant, and captain.
“Ron is definitely gone too soon,” Nance-Holt said. “He was so very special. He wanted this degree so much. I know he’s watching us today with a smile.”
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