Beach Park memorial honors fallen Hotshot firefighters
By Frank Abderholden email@example.com September 19, 2013 2:31PM
Athena Rose Sperry shows the brick for her son, Anthony Rose, who was one of the Granite Mountain Hotshots who died in a forest fire this summer in Arizona. | Frank Abderholden/Sun-Times Media
Tony Rose Fund
The Rose family has set up an account to benefit Tiffany and Anthony’s baby, who is due Oct. 5.
Contributions can be made to the Tony Rose Fund, account 435499939, at Chase Bank.
For additional information, call Athena Sperry at (847) 912-5610 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Updated: October 21, 2013 2:12PM
The Arizona Hotshot firefighters, including former Beach Park resident Anthony Rose, have been honored with a brick memorial at Founders Park in Beach Park.
“In Loving Memory Last Alarm Granite Mountain Hotshots 6-30-13,” reads the top two of 21 bricks.
The circular brick memorial was the idea of Rose’s sister, Rhonda “Ronnie” Sperry. Her brother was 23 years old when he died June 30 responding to the Yarnell Hill fire that was sparked by a lightning strike.
The group of 19 firefighters were trapped when weather conditions changed. It was the largest loss of firefighters in a single incident since the 9/11 attacks in New York City.
To pay for the memorial, at 10385 Beach Road, Sperry placed donation jugs at local service stations, restaurants and business.
“I thought about it and I just wanted to do it,” she said. “The village hall was very nice. They waived the fee for setting them in place so it only cost $50 a brick. It was a relief to finally have them put in.”
“I just want to tell the community thank you so much for every donation given,” added Athena Rose Sperry, Ronnie’s mother. “The love and support has really been appreciated.”
The landscaping firm that installed the bricks, Zion-based K. Erickson Designs, also created a sign that honors the fallen firefighters and brings attention to the memorial site. A laminated funeral card for Anthony Rose was set in a corner of the sign.
“I visit it almost every day,” Athena Rose Sperry said.
Anthony Rose and his fiancee Tiffany were expecting a baby when he died in the Arizona fire.
Tiffany, who still lives in Arizona, recently visited Rose’s mom in Racine, Wis., for a baby shower. There were so many gifts donated that Rose’s mother is sharing them with area churches and neighbors who are having babies and need a little help.
Athena Rose Sperry said the family has been coping with their loss. She got a tattoo tribute to her son on her arm.
“I got that a couple of weeks after he came home,” she said, referring to the July 11 ceremony attended by hundreds of first responders at Waukegan Regional Airport.
“We’re just trying to remember that a part of him is coming to us,” Rose Sperry said of the anticipated birth of her son’s baby in October.
Rose moved to Arizona when he was 16 after spending his freshman and sophomore years at Zion-Benton Township High School. He also attended O’Plaine School and Viking Middle School in Gurnee School District 56 and Beach Park Middle School for eighth grade.
“He was a class clown at times. He could be trouble, getting called to the dean’s office,” Anthony’s sister said.
When the family lived on seven acres in Wadsworth, he rode all the time and loved the outdoors.