‘The Jake’ Firefighter Training Simulator Dedicated to Godfrey’s Capt. Ringering

Article by: Jeanie Stephens, the Telegraph,

FireScience-JakeDedicationALTON — Local firefighters, residents and community officials gathered Saturday morning to dedicate the Alton Fire Department’s new 48-foot mobile firefighter training simulator in memory of Capt. Jake Ringering who died in the line of duty on March 6.

His widow, Allison Ringering, joined retiring Alton Fire Chief Bernie Sebold, Father Jeremy Paulin of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Alton Mayor Brant Walker and Lewis and Clark Community College President Dr. Dale Chapman to address the guests during a short ceremony at the Alton Public Works Department off of Fosterburg Road.

“As a result of his dedication to public service, Jake impacted many lives,” said Paulin. “And countless individuals are alive today as a testament to that.”

The simulator is fittingly named “The Jake,” both in Ringering’s memory and in reference to the term “Jake,” an affectionate slang for a firefighter coined in New England in the early 20th century. To be called a “Good Jake” by a peer is considered the highest form of praise a firefighter can receive.

“Capt. Ringering believed in the importance of training his fellow brothers and, as a natural born leader, gave freely of his time, talent and knowledge of his profession,” said Sebold. “May all of those who train here forever feel his guidance and remember the lasting impact he had on his community and the fire service. He is missed by many and forgotten by none.”

The mobile unit will be used in partnership with Lewis and Clark Community College as part of its Fire Science program, serving parts of seven counties covering more than 2,000 square miles to bring safety training, certifications and new skills to area communities.

Ringering’s family was present for Saturday’s ceremony, with his wife speaking briefly about his dedication and commitment to the members of his department whom he worked hard to inspire, motivate and teach.

“He was willing to train and teach anyone who was willing to listen,” she said. “When Chief Sebold approached me about this phenomenal training unit and explained its purpose, I knew it would be very fitting to be dedicated to Jake, as it encompassed everything that Jake stood for and believed in and for the legacy he has left among this brotherhood.”

A federal grant provided 90 percent of the unit’s $227,000 cost, with the remaining 10 percent provided by Lewis and Clark Community College. Sebold said obtaining the grants took three application submissions over five years, from the time he first approached Chapman and Walker about the opportunity and plans for a regional trainer.

“All parties quickly agreed this was an excellent opportunity to acquire a unit that will be able to play a part in providing realistic training and essential firefighter skill sets to over 1,240 firefighters from 62 firefighter service agencies within the Lewis and Clark Community College District,” said Sebold.

“Utilizing this unit, Lewis and Clark fire science instructors will be able to teach firefighters the necessary skill sets to meet the National Fire Protection Association and the Illinois office of the State Fire Marshal training standards so that they may be able to better protect both the lives and property of people in their community,” he said.

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