Special Recognition Planned for Late Mattoon Firefighter


Published on June 30 2021 10:49 am
Last Updated on July 4 2021 9:15 am
Written by Greg Sapp

Special recognition is being planned at the funeral Saturday of a young Mattoon firefighter in honor of his service.

Ironically, 21-year-old Mehdi Mourad had joined the Wabash Fire Protection District department just five days before his death.

Mourad, a native of Morocco, was in the United States to attend school at Lake Land College. He was traveling on I-57 near the Lake Land College interchange to assist at a crash scene when he lost control of his vehicle in the rainy weather. His vehicle ran off onto the shoulder of the interstate and struck a vehicle that had pulled off to wait for the rainfall to lessen. Mourad had to be extricated from his vehicle and was taken to the hospital, but died from his injuries.

Local firefighter Joe Holomy is coordinating the recognition for Mourad on behalf of the National Fallen Firefighters Association. Holomy said the MABAS District 54 Honor Guard will be on hand, as will Illinois State Fire Marshal Matt Perez. 

Mourad's funeral service will be at noon Saturday at New Hope Church in Effingham. While there will be a visitation time from 10am to noon, Holomy said there will be a firefighter walkthrough at 11:30am. There will also be a firefighter bell service at the close of the funeral service, and then an escort by various fire apparatus is planned from New Hope Church to the cemetery in Neoga.

Holomy said it's an unusual occurence for a young person like Mourad to want to join the fire service, especially considering he was visiting the United States for schooling.