Skip to main content

Greater Chatham Initiative Recognize First Responders

Presenting a temporary public art installation from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, with a program from noon to 1:00 pm, GCI will honor and thank our neighbors, past and present, who have served in Chicago’s Fire and Police Departments and Emergency Medical Services.

GCI is requesting 1) the community provide information and images of familiar First Responders which will be included on up to 200 individual signs, arranged within a select area of Brown Memorial Park at 634 E. 86th Street, and 2) our neighbors arrange blue ribbons on trees within the community to recognize and honor First Responders on Memorial Day. Brown Memorial Park is a wonderful recreational destination. This park features a tennis court, softball diamonds as well as open space for picnics and more.

Between noon and 1:00 pm, Nedra Sims-Fears, Executive Director Greater Chatham Initiative will host a series of speakers and public officials who will pay tribute and offer thanks to First Responders serving the community. Installation representatives, or docents, will be available throughout the day to discuss the details of the art installation and history of the park.

In 1990, the Chicago Park District named the site for Sidney Brown (1951-1983), the first African-American firefighter to die in the line of duty in Chicago. Brown, who began his career as a firefighter in 1978, served with Engine Company 75 on the city's south side. As a "hydrant man" who connected hoses to fire hydrants, he was often the last firefighter to enter an engulfed building. Brown died on August 9, 1983, when he rushed into a burning house, hoping to save three children believed to be trapped there.

GCI is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization serving a 15-square-mile area occupied by the Chatham, Auburn Gresham, Greater Grand Crossing and Avalon Park communities. Roughly bounded by South Chicago Avenue (East), the Dan Ryan Woods (West), 63rd Street (North) and 87th Street (South), 122,000 residents call this area, Greater Chatham, their home. For details, contact Rhea L. Steele at 866.420.0296 or

Keywords: Chicago Fire Department, First responders, Greater Chatham Initiative

Posted in City of Chicago, Community Highlights