A replica of a fire hydrant that honors Chicago’s fallen firefighters is coming to Mt. Greenwood on the 12th anniversary of 9/11.
John and Caley Funk, owners of Funkie Fashions, 3522 W. 111th St., are participating in the Great Chicago Fire Hydrants program, a citywide public art installation benefiting charities that support the families of fire victims and other fire safety programs.
The Funks are sponsoring one of the 101 fire hydrants that represent the 101 firehouses in Chicago. The fire hydrants are sponsored by a company or individual and will be located at businesses, parks, plazas and tourist destinations throughout the city from Sept. 11 to Nov. 11. Following the exhibit, the hydrants will be auctioned to the highest bidder.
In addition to sponsoring the hydrant for placement in the front of their store, the Funks will also solicit donations for the 100 Club of Chicago, a civilian organization that assists families of police officers, firefighters and paramedics who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
Like the iconic “Cows on Parade” that took Chicago by storm in 1999, the fire hydrants will be oversized replicas that are painted, decorated or dressed by noted artists, architects and fashion designers.
Charles “Tattoo Chuck” Iglinski, a 16-year veteran of the Chicago Fire Department (CFD) and the owner of Firehouse Tattoos, designed the hydrant that will be placed outside Funkie Fashions, John Funk said. According to Iglinski’s online bio, he has drawn and designed numerous patch and T-shirt designs for Chicago and suburban firehouses and has painted murals at several others. While most of his work as an artist is now done on skin, Ignlinski also airbrushes and paints on canvas and wood, according to his bio.
Standing five feet tall and three feet wide, the 80-pound hydrants are locally manufactured in durable, weather-resistant white fiberglass. The fire hydrant at Funkie Fashions includes an image of the Chicago skyline, flames erupting from its base and the names of Chicago firefighters killed in the line of duty. It will stand outside the storefront during business hours and will be brought into the store in the evening, Funk said.
Funk, a 16-year veteran of the CFD, said he and his wife were eager to participate in the program when they first heard about it on the radio.
“It’s for a good cause,” Funk said. “I hope the whole citywide campaign brings some attention to the 100 Club.”
They are also happy to bring the program to Mt. Greenwood.
The Funks are Mt. Greenwood residents and the parents of four elementary school-age children. The couple opened Funkie Fashions, a women’s clothing and accessory boutique, in February 2013.
“There are so many police and firefighters on the South Side, and we’re happy to represent them with the hydrant,” Funk said. “It’s almost like [the proceeds] are going back to the community.”