National Fallen Firefighters Foundation

Roll of Honor

Walter Douglas Buckert

Submitted by his mother

Doug was born in Quincy‚ IL September 9‚ 1975. He died October 2‚ 1997 at Burnside‚ Hancock‚ IL. He was buried October 6‚ 1997 in Moss Ridge Cemetery in Carthage‚ IL.

He was a volunteer firefighter for the Carthage Clipper Fire Department. A year to the date of his official acceptance on the fire department‚ the department was called to a farm near Burnside‚ IL. While on scene‚ an LP tank exploded‚ killing Doug and a fellow firefighter.

From birth‚ Doug was an active person with a need to be doing something or helping someone in need. In school he was involved with basketball‚ golf‚ and band. He graduated in 1993 from Carthage High School. He received honors from the National Honor Society‚ West Central All Conference Golf and West Central All Conference Band. He was the recipient of the Semper Fidelis Award for Musical Excellence. He also received the American Legion Premier Boys State Citizenship Award and was the Senior Class Good Citizen.

He became an Eagle Scout from Troop 72 in Carthage in 1989. He and his father did many outdoor activities together through scouting. They were both proud to be a part of the program.

From 1989 to 1995 he owned and operated Buckert Lawn Service in Carthage. From age 3‚ Doug was constantly mowing or working on a lawnmower that his great-grandfather had given him. There was no engine in the mower but he mowed every blade of grass in our yard many times.

In 1995 he graduated from Carl Sandburg College with an associate degree in science and again in May 1997 he graduated from the first class of mortuary science at Carl Sandburg College. He received recognition from the Illinois Funeral Directors Association Past Presidents Scholarship and the Illinois Funeral Service Foundation Top Scholar Award in Mortuary Science. He passed the National Funeral Service examination boards in May 1997 and was working for Lamporte Funeral Home at the time of his death.

He was a member of Sigma Phi Sigma‚ Phi Theta Kappa‚ Carthage Golf Club‚ Carthage Lions Club‚ volunteer for the Carthage Clipper Fire Department‚ student member of Illinois Funeral Directors’ Association and National Funeral Directors’ Association. He coached Pee Wee League Baseball for several years‚ served as Deputy Coroner for Hancock County and was an instructor for Operation Snowball (alternative activities to drugs and drinking). He was a member of the First United Methodist Church of Carthage and a Stephen Minister. He was also a United Methodist Church Youth Group Leader.

He enjoyed working with cars. His father and he had a 1966 Mustang that they spent many hours fixing together. He took it to his Junior Prom and his friends used it in their wedding.

He always had a smile and waved to everyone‚ something taught to him by his grandfather. People came to the visitation to tell us they would always remember his smile and friendliness. Others came out of respect to him for being so kind at their time of grief. He also worked for the local radio station and the older people liked to hear his voice when he was announcing the news. At the funeral many people commented that his 22 years on earth were equal to many 80 year olds that hadn’t accomplished half of what he did while here on earth. The honor to a fallen firefighter was overwhelming with the support‚ the fire trucks‚ the departments represented and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. What a tremendous honor for a fallen firefighter to receive at such a sad time.

My vivid vision at the time of his death is seeing God come sweep his soul to Heaven as he was being thrown through the air by the tank missile. My last conversation with him was at noon before the accident when he called me at work and said he had received the raise he had wanted for several months and his employer had bought him a new suit and coat. He was buried in the suit.

There are too many good memories we have of our son and are thankful for being blessed with his birth. He was our miracle baby as I was told I wouldn’t be able to have children‚ but after two operations‚ a wonderful physician and the grace of God he came to be with us for 22 years.

The following are examples of memorials created in Doug’s honor. A scholarship for high school seniors was started in honor of Doug Buckert and Mike Mapes by the families and Carthage Clipper Fire Department. The scholarship is for someone who has shown service to the community in many ways. A second scholarship was started at Carl Sandburg College in Doug’s name. This scholarship is for a second year student. The person must be involved in community activities (three of eight recipients have been firefighters). Carl Sandurg College‚ Mortuary Science Program honored Doug by planting a tree in his memory at the front entrance because he was always there to greet people with a smile. The Carthage Lions Club built and erected a play gym at the ball diamonds for children. It is in the shape of a fire engine with tribute to Doug. The Carthage Golf Club put a picnic table on their patio in memory of Doug. He was an avid golfer. The Carthage United Methodist Church now has a flagpole in honor of Doug (this was his home church and where he attained his Eagle Scout Award). Troop 72 also received money to help scouts attend summer camp. The Carthage Clipper Fire Department designed and built a memorial wall and bell tower at the Fire Department in recognition of three fallen firefighters. One of the firefighters had a demolition derby car and put Doug’s name on the car in remembrance of him. A local Busch Car owner had a car that was dedicated to both fallen firefighters in 1998. A 19′ flag was presented to the department by Doug’s family. It is flown for special events such as the 4th of July‚ Christmas Open House‚ and other events where the firefighters participate with the ladder truck. There also were two trees planted at the WOW park (a park built in memory of a young girl who lived across from us and was killed tragically)‚ one by a friend of our family and another by the Scout Troops of Carthage in honor of all fallen firefighters.

He leaves his father‚ W. Eugene; mother‚ Joyce; and sister‚ Carla behind. He is missed every day but we know he is doing good work for the Lord and will be there to greet us. He has probably welcomed many fallen firefighters over the past 8 years‚ including the 9-11 firefighters.

Memorial Posts


Memorial Wall

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  1. Doug Happy Birthday and I miss your assistance in changing windshield wipers

    – Carlene Woodside
  2. I know it’s been almost 19 years now but the memories are still fresh. What would your life be like if you were still around? You were such a nice kid. Lynn and I enjoyed being around you and Travis. We miss you and Mike.

    – Dirk Tweedell