Sterling remembers fallen firefighter at visitation

Local News

STERLING, Ill. (WTVO) — The Sterling community began the process of saying goodbye to a fallen first responder.

Lt. Garrett Ramos died Friday while fighting a fire. The 38-year-old’s visitation was Wednesday night, and the Mayor of Sterling said that Ramos not only had an impact on the fire department, but the entire community.

“Oh absolutely, he was a hero,” said Mayor Skip Lee. “He was running towards the danger when the rest of us have the luxury of running away from it.”

Ramos was a father, firefighter and, according to Lee, a hero.

“It wasn’t that he was fighting the fire because that was his job, he was fighting that fire because that was his calling,” Lee said.

Ramos died while fighting a blaze inside of a home. Officials said that the floor collapsed beneath him. He was taken to a hospital, where he later died.

“Garrett was not the kind that was going to stand in the background and say, ‘okay you go do this, you go do this,'” Lee said. “He was going to be on the frontlines, doing the best job possible for the best possible outcome.”

Lee said that Ramos always inspired other firefighters and was a great leader.

“We’ve had people in the fire department say, ‘you know, he rubbed off on me,'” Lee said. “I won’t be mayor 20 years from now, but I knew that 20 years from now he was going to be the chief, and he was going to take Sterling Fire Department to levels that no one has ever thought of before.”

The community is now rallying behind Ramos’ wife and two daughters.

“Basically, I just wanted to do something, as much as I could, to support them, and I’m a photographer, so I wanted to host some last minute holiday mini sessions,” said local photographer Ashley Nares.

Nares said that she is giving the proceeds to Ramos’ family. Both Nares and Lee said that the support is a reflection of who Ramos was in the community.

“We’re all praying for them, and everyone’s doing all we can to support them in their time of need,” Nares said.

“The people in this community who knew him, and knew of him, genuinely love and respected Garrett,” added Lee.

Ramos was a 10 year veteran with the fire department. His death was the first line of duty death in the history of the Sterling Fire Department. A visitation for Ramos runs until 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Sterling High School Fieldhouse, 22 E Miller Rd.

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