Going to Great Lengths

minich4Sixty years ago, Chicago Firefighter John Francis Minich saved 12 people from a burning building in a fire that had been set by an arsonist. One of the last people he carried from the building was a pregnant woman. After he got her to safety, he removed his crucifix necklace and put it in her hand.

“I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers.” —Ephesians 1:16

Shortly after the rescue, Minich collapsed and died from a heart attack and smoke inhalation. He was 43.

minich1His name was etched in granite at a local memorial and his badge was mounted on the Wall of Honor at the Quinn Fire Academy. But, somehow, his grave was never properly marked. Enter Debbie McCann, the child of the pregnant woman John saved.

Debbie found his gravesite at All Saints Cemetery. “She went to great lengths to contact our office,” said Chicago Firefighters Union President Tom Ryan. minich2“She originally planned to pay for the headstone on her own.” He told Debbie that it would be taken care of, with no cost to her.

The Chicago Fire Department, along with the Firefighters Union Local 2, joined with Debbie to honor the anniversary of John Minich’s death with a permanent grave minich3marker. “This was something that had to be made right,” said Tom Ryan. “He gave his life and made the ultimate sacrifice for the people he served and that needed to be recognized.”

It is true in this life that no one owes us anything, so when someone expresses true gratitude, it is admirable. More than ever today, showing thankfulness is a reflection of God’s heart and blessing.

DELIVERER, may I avoid an attitude of entitlement and expectation and just be grateful for anything anyone does for me. And thank You.

A daily devotion from


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