BEVERLY — The 2013 South Side Irish Parade will kick off March 10, but officials took time Tuesday afternoon to honor this year's Grand Marshal and honorees.
Community members, firefighters, police officers and city officials gathered at King-Lockhart Memorial Park in Beverly to recognize fallen first-responders from the Beverly community as well as announce this year's parade route leaders: the families of those fallen individuals.
First-responders lined up at King-Lockhart Memorial Park in recognition of their commitment. The park itself is a memorial to the spot where two firefighters were killed in a fire 15 years ago to the day.
"We really felt we should honor first-responders who put their lives in jeopardy for our benefit," said Joe Connelly, co-chair of the parade committee. "They're our family, our friends and our neighbors."
One of those neighbors, Diane Patmon, expressed gratitude for the support she's received from her community and the Chicago Fire Department.
Hundreds had gathered at the funeral in November of her husband Walter Patmon Jr. after the 61-year-old firefighter died of a heart attack upon returning from a call to his South Side fire station.
Patmon called Tuesday's announcement "an honor.""It's what he deserved," she said.
Patmon will join the families of fallen first responders Herbie Johnson and Michael Fisk in leading the parade, which will kick off Sunday, March 10, along Western Avenue from 103rd to 115th streets.