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Fire science to nurture

Ruettiger receives Muffler Memorial Scholarship

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013 8:04 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013 1:32 p.m. CDT

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The second Pete Muffler Memorial Scholarship has been awarded to Morris Community High School senior Jake Ruettiger.

Ruettiger was given his $1,000 scholarship last week through the Community Foundation of Grundy County, which facilitates the scholarship program. He is currently attending Spoon River College in Canton.

A fund was established in 2010 in Muffler's memory to provide scholarships for the young men and women of Grundy County who are choosing fire service as a career. The recipients must be a part of the fire service program at Grundy Area Vocational Center.

The first scholarship was awarded in 2011 to Keegan Anderson of Coal City.  

Muffler died in 2009 at 82. He was called a "pillar of the community" for his dedication to local organizations. He was a member of the Morris Fire Protection and Ambulance District for 61 years, serving in many positions, including firefighter, deputy chief, and president of the fire board.

Muffler was also very dedicated to the Grundy County Corn Festival, serving as its chairman from when it began in 1948 until he died.

The organizations he was dedicated to have partnered to contribute and raise money for the scholarship fund. Contributors include the Morris Firemen's Association, Morris Building & Loan, Grundy County Corn Festival, Morris Lions Club and the Morris Fraternal Order of Eagles.

Ruettiger said in his application essay that being a firefighter and paramedic has always been his dream. Being a firefighter is a family tradition.

"I always liked when my uncles would ask me to go down to the station with them. That's when I realized I wanted to make it a goal to do well in school so I could further my education in college," he wrote.

"It's a very rewarding career when you know you could help someone in need at any time the call comes in. So being a firefighter/medic is my choice of work for many years to come," Ruettiger concluded in his essay.

The goal is to give more than one $1,000 scholarship a year, said Julie Buck, executive director of the Community Foundation of Grundy County. So the foundation is always taking donations for the fund.

To donate to the Pete Muffler Memorial Scholarship contact the Community Foundation of Grundy County at (815) 941-0852.

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