The line formed around the corner of the Wait Ross Allanson Funeral Home in Elgin, with dozens of firefighters dressed in their uniforms to pay tribute to Lake Zurich Firefighter Danny Gonzalez.
“It’s the long blue line,” Fox River Grove Fire Chaplain Gerald Schalk said.
Schalk tries to make it to firefighters’ funerals for a walkthrough, a tradition in the fire service. Any death in the fire service is felt everywhere in the tight-knit community, he said. The walk thru helps firefighters and families to see how important their loved one was, he said.
Gonzalez, 49, of South Elgin, died suddenly on Aug. 1.
He served on the fire department for 13 years. He is survived by his wife of 24 years, Pamela Gonzalez, two daughters Hillary Miller of Naperville and Miranda Govea of Chicago, two sons, Michael Pace of Elgin and Cayetano Govea of Carpentersville, four grandchildren, Cordarius Miller, Anthony Marples, Janessa Pace, Juliana Pace, two sisters, Dee Hernandez, Nancy Rodriguez of San Antonio, Texas and one brother, Louciano Gonzalez of Lisle. Danny is preceded in death by his father Pablo Gonzalez.
The Lake Zurich Village Board of Trustees held a moment of silence at Monday’s meeting and firefighters arrived Tuesday for his visitation service.
Firefighters from Elgin, South Elgin, Palatine, Lake County and as far away as Wisconsin arrived for the walkthrough. Gonzalez served in the Navy, which was also represented.
“He was a great guy,” Navy FMF Corpsman Adeel Ismaili said, dressed in his Navy uniform as he stood outside the funeral home.
Ismaili got to know Gonzalez through the firefighter’s involving with the Marine Corp League in Lake County, a close-knit group. Both were sailors who were also attached to the Marine Corp.
The last time Ismaili saw Gonzalez, they were hanging out before a meeting and he was showing his friend magic tricks with a deck of cards. “We were just goofing around,” he said.
The turnout for the walkthrough was outstanding, Ismaili said. He was impressed with the number of firefighters who attended.
It just showed he touched many different communities, Ismaili said.