CHICAGO - On Thursday, the badge of the first Chicago firefighter to die from the coronavirus was memorialized.
Mario Araujo was a veteran firefighter stationed in Rogers Park. The city remembered his service, dedication and kindness to those he worked alongside.
"We can see, we can smell and we can feel the smoke and heat from a fire, but there are no tangible signs for the invisible danger for COVID-19,” said Fire Commissioner Richard C. Ford II.
As the city of Chicago was preparing for a coronavirus lockdown, Araujo became sick with a fever.
The 49-year-old was diagnosed with the coronavirus, hospitalized and died just a few days later.
His mother, Maria, attended Thursday’s ceremony.
"Those who lose a parent are called orphans, those who lose a spouse, they are a widow or widower. There is no name for those who lose a child. It's certainly something none of us can feel,” said the Fire Department Chaplain.
Araujo served Chicago for 18 years. Now, his badge will be a permanent fixture at the Quinn Fire Academy, alongside other firefighters who have given their lives in the line of duty.
"Today, we are dedicating badge number 5168 to the wall to honor the life and service of our beloved brother, our beloved member,” said Fire Commissioner Richard C. Ford II.
In April, a second Chicago firefighter, Edward Singleton, passed away from coronavirus complications at the age of 55.