Nearly $4,000 has been raised so far to cover funeral costs for a 32-year-old Beach Park firefighter who died suddenly last week. He is remembered as a “great leader and mentor.”
Lake County Coroner Jennifer Banek said that Christian Samuels, 32, of Beach Park, was found dead around 7:40 a.m. Wednesday at the Holiday Inn, 6161 West Grand Avenue in Gurnee.
Banek said that Samuels’s cause of death is believed to have been suicide. He was off-duty at the time.
“It is with deepest sorrow that we inform you of the passing of our beloved member, Lieutenant Samuels,” the Beach Park Fire Department announced Thursday afternoon.
“For those who knew him, he leaves behind a great legacy and will truly be missed by all. Those who didn’t have the chance to meet Chris, everyone would tell you how infectious is laugh was, and what a dear friend he was to everyone he met,” the fire department said in a statement.
“There was not a single person he didn’t greet as if they were old friends. Lt. Samuels was a great asset here at the Beach Park Fire Department. He was a great leader, mentor, and most of all, brother. We have all been blessed to work alongside him during his many years with us,” the department added.
The Beach Park Fire Department said on Sunday they created a GoFundMe account to benefit Samuels’s family and to cover his funeral costs.
“There was not a single person he didn’t greet as if they were old friends. He lived everyday carrying out his passions, spending time with those he loved, and trying to make a difference in his world,” Beach Park Fire Department Firefighter-Paramedic Sara Wojcik said.
Wojcik said that Samuels “loved many things,” including his son Noah and father Mark. Samuels was the primary care provider for his father, who suffered multiple strokes.
“He took care of finances, doctor visits, and helped make everyday life easier. Adjusting to these changes in life, are going to be extremely difficult for his family. We would like to use this outlet to also raise money to help support these costs, and make sure they are still taken care of as Chris would’ve wanted,” Wojcik said.
Information on funeral services is expected to be released in the next few days.