Beloit man honors ‘friend,’ former fire chief with hundreds of flags

Driving around Beloit this weekend, you may notice hundreds of American flags lining the streets.
Published: Jan. 14, 2022 at 9:41 PM CST
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BELOIT, Wis. (WMTV) - Driving around Beloit this weekend, you may notice hundreds of American flags lining the streets.

Mark Finnegan said there were about 900 banners to cover the processional route for former Beloit Fire Chief Brad Liggett.

“We thought, ‘Let’s just line the route like a hall of honor as a salute to him for all he did for so many of us,’” Finnegan said.

The Central Christian Church was open Friday for public visitation, ahead of the funeral service on Saturday.

Liggett died unexpectedly last weekend. He served the Freeport, Illinois Fire Department since July of 2019, after serving the City of Beloit’s Fire Department for 30 years and as chief for 16 years.

He was also a member of VetsRoll, a nonprofit charity run by Finnegan. The group takes veterans on all-expense-paid trips to Washington D.C.. Finnegan said Liggett was on the medical team for the nonprofit’s last trip before the pandemic.

“He was such a go-to guy. Everybody loved him,” he said.

According to his obituary, Liggett was a veteran himself, serving with the U.S. Navy during Desert Storm and with the Marines as a Navy Corpsman.

Finnegan said he has used flags to pay tribute to other first responders or veterans who have passed away. But this time was “unique” because of Liggett’s widow who came up to him while he was setting up the flags.

He described the moment as one of “closure.”

“She realizes this is for her husband, there’s other people who know what he did for [them],” he said. “She was crying and her tears were freezing on her face.”

“That to me,” he added, “it means we’re doing the right thing.”

Following Saturday’s funeral service, the current chief of the Freeport Fire Department said Liggett will receive his military honors.

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