Fallen firefighter Herbie Johnson memorialized at bar; benefit fund set up
BY STEVE METSCH email@example.com November 5, 2012 5:42PM
A bar stool where late Chicago firefighter Herbie Johnson often sat is draped with an American flag Monday at Cork & Kerry in Chicago's Beverly community. | Supplied photo
Updated: December 7, 2012 6:15AM
Herbie Johnson, the Chicago Fire Department captain who died Friday night fighting a fire, is being remembered at his favorite tavern, Cork & Kerry, 10614 S. Western Ave.
An American flag has been draped over his favorite barstool there, owner Billy Guide said Monday.
“He was a good customer,” Guide said.
Johnson and his friends “would meet here on Friday afternoons and have popcorn. That was the code word — ‘popcorn,’” Guide said.
A bowl of popcorn and a bottle of beer sit in front of the empty stool. The flag was draped over the barstool Saturday by another firefighter, Guide said.
“It’s still there. There’s probably a dozen firefighters around it right now,” he said about 4:30 p.m. Monday.
Guide wants to set up a permanent memorial to Johnson.
“We floated the idea by his family yesterday if we can put some sort of bronze star or plaque in that corner of the bar, (maybe) call it Herbie’s Corner or Herbie’s Happy Corner. We’ll see what they say,” Guide said.
Johnson also is being remembered with a memorial fund that’s been established to benefit his family.
BMO Harris Bank established the fund in partnership with the Ende, Menzer, Walsh & Quinn Retirees’, Widows’ & Children’s Assistance Fund and Chicago Firefighters Union Local 2.
BMO Harris Bank is donating $10,000, president and CEO Mark Furlong said.
“Capt. Johnson made Chicago a safer place. His bravery was known far and wide. We are deeply saddened by this loss, and my colleagues and I are proud to open a bank account in his honor. We encourage people to visit a local BMO Harris branch and make a donation,” he said.
Tony Martin, a Chicago fire lieutenant, said the city has “lost a very courageous man.”
“The city has come together to honor Herbie’s life and to be there for his family, and for this, the department is extremely grateful,” Martin said.
All BMO Harris locations are accepting donations via cash or check to support Johnson’s family. Checks can be made payable to the Herbert “Herbie” Johnson Memorial Fund. The account number for the fund is 4811970462. Donations also can be made online at www.widowsandchildren.org.
Donation acknowledgement forms will be generated for all contributions of $250 or more in accordance with the Internal Revenue Service guidelines. Individuals needing tax receipts will be required to use a check.
Donations can also be mailed to: BMO Harris Bank, Community Affairs Department, 111 W. Monroe St., Chicago, IL 60603.
The account is being established through the Ende, Menzer, Walsh & Quinn Retirees’, Widows’ and Children’s Assistance Fund, an established charitable organization whose mission is to provide financial help to widows and children of Chicago firefighters and paramedics.
Visitation for Johnson will be Wednesday evening at St. Rita High School, 7740 S. Western Ave., Chicago. A funeral Mass will be said there at 11 a.m. Thursday.