One of the Clinton Fire Department's five battalion chiefs was to be in the audience in the U.S. House at Tuesday's State of the Union address.
Jeff Chapman, who also serves as the city's safety director, was invited to be the guest of U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa. Each member of Congress is permitted to invite one person to the speech, and Loebsack said he chose Chapman because he wants to bring attention to the Clinton Fire Department.
The department lost one firefighter early this year and nearly lost another.
Lieutenant Eric Hosette, 33, was killed in a grain-bin explosion at the ADM plant in Clinton on Jan. 5. Firefighter Adam Cain, 23, sustained life-threatening injuries and spent weeks at the University of Iowa Hospital in Iowa City, but he since has returned home and continues to recover from his injuries.
Chief Michael Brown declined to say why Chapman was chosen, but Loebsack's office provided a few details, including the fact Chapman is a Clinton native who has served since 1995.
"I am proud to welcome Battalion Chief Chapman to Washington and have him join me in attending the State of the Union address," Loebsack said in an announcement this week. "Our firefighters stand ready to serve the moment a disaster strikes. They are also cherished members of their communities, as was recently displayed in the aftermath of the grain bin fire that took the life of Lt. Hosette and severely injured his fellow firefighter, Adam Cain.
"Seeing folks come from around the state to honor Lt. Hosette’s life in the middle of a snow storm gave me so much appreciation for the job our firefighters preform and the sacrifices they are willing to make. I believe we owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the men and women who serve, and I feel privileged to bring attention to the Clinton Fire Department for this State of the Union.”