Route 45 through the town of Ashkum is now officially the “Firefighter Dana Schoolman Memorial Highway” in honor of the fallen firefighter’s sacrifice for his community. The highway was formally dedicated as such at a ceremony on June 29th at the Ashkum firehouse.
The dedication was possible due to legislation passed by State Senator Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) and Representative Tom Bennett (R-Gibson City) and the commitment of Schoolman’s family.
“Dana Schoolman gave his life in the line of duty 30 years ago,” said Senator Barickman. “My hope is that this memorial will allow for the memory of his service and commitment to others to continue to inspire future generations.”
“During what has been a tragic year for first responders along our Illinois highways, we pause to remember Firefighter Dana Schoolman, who lost his life more than 30 years ago while rushing to the aid of a person in need. His sacrifice reminds us all of the dangerous, important work which our first responders do every day,” said Rep. Tom Bennett. “Dana Schoolman served the Ashkum and Clifton communities for six years, before giving his life in service to the community. Today we honor his sacrifice, and offer our gratitude to his family. With this memorial we resolve to never forget those who have given so much so that others may live..”
Dana Schoolman was a volunteer firefighter with the Ashkum Township Fire Protection District for six years. Schoolman was killed in an accident while responding to a medical emergency call on Nov. 6, 1988. He was 31 years old and was survived by his wife, Anne, and two children.
Senate Joint Resolution 8, passed in the 100th General Assembly by Barickman and Bennett, officially designated the section of U.S. Route 45 from Illinois State Route 116 through the town of Ashkum to Iroquois County Road 2400 North as the “Firefighter Dana Schoolman Memorial Highway.”
“Though it's been 30 years since we lost our Dana, it still seems like only yesterday for us. There have been SO many people who have helped us through this journey and there just doesn't seem to be the right words to thank everyone,” said Anne Schoolman. “Thank you to all who have made sure that our love, our Dana will never be forgotten.”