Elwood firefighter Gillam being added to national memorial

May 1—ANDERSON — Former Elwood firefighter Mark Gillam will be honored this weekend when his name is added to the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial.

Gillam is one of 12 Indiana firefighter that will be added to the memorial on Sunday in Maryland.

He is the first firefighter from Madison County included on the memorial, according to the foundation's website.

Gillam, 56, died in October 2021 following complications from COVID-19.

Elwood Mayor Todd Jones said Tuesday that Elwood Fire Chief Mark Sullivan and Assistant Fire Chief Zach Head will be attending the ceremony.

"This is absolutely great," Jones said of Gillam being added to the memorial. "We will have representatives there from the city."

He said the family had originally planned to attend the ceremonies but have since changed their plans.

Gillam died on Oct. 3, 2021, on National Fallen Firefighters Day after a long battle with the COVID-19 virus.

The department is positive he caught COVID while on duty.

He served as a member of the Elwood Fire Department for 31 years and was remembered as someone who loved the community.

Firefighters from throughout central Indiana attended the funeral service and residents of Elwood lined North Anderson Street to pay homage to Gillam.

During the traditional last call of duty, the Indiana University Medical helicopter flow over Elwood Junior and Senior High School.

The members of the Elwood Fire Department stood at attention when Gillam's casket was moved from the high school auditorium. Each firefighter placed hands on Gillam's helmet as a final farewell.

He volunteered with the Hoosier Burn Camp for 21 years and was a coach, umpire and small business owner in Elwood.

He also served with the U.S. Marine Corps before returning to Elwood to join the department.

Fire Chief Sullivan said Gillam was a dedicated firefighter and EMT for 31 years during his funeral service.

Sullivan said Monday that he worked 22 years with Gillam, who was instrumental within the department the whole time.

"Even before I was the chief, Mark was always the go-to guy when it came to inspections and the Indiana Code Book," he said.

Sullivan said he kept in touch with Gillam while he battled COVID from his hospital bed.

The United States Congress created the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation to lead a nationwide effort to honor America's fallen firefighters. The mission is to honor America's fallen fire heroes; support their families, colleagues and organizations; and work to reduce preventable firefighter death and injury.

The National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Park includes the National Fallen Firefighters Monument, the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Chapel, a brick Walk of Honor, a September 11th memorial sculpture, and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation Bell of Remembrance.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.