CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WAND) - "He did not lose his life. He gave it. That is what we are honoring today."
Fallen Officer Christopher Oberheim has been permanently honored in Downtown Champaign.
University Avenue between Neil Street and Chestnut Street is designated in honor of Oberheim, who lost his life when responding to a domestic situation on May 19. A total of three street signs are displayed, along with plaques, which are still being placed the next couple of weeks.
As WAND News previously reported, the Champaign City Council passed a resolution on June 1 to designate and name the above part of University Avenue after Oberheim.
“This is another important opportunity for our community to pay tribute to Officer Oberheim, whose life was taken only because he chose to serve,” said Chief of Police Anthony Cobb. “The honorary sign will stand to represent the eternal recognition we owe our fallen hero for his exemplary service and ultimate sacrifice."
Chief Cobb says the constant tribute is just a reminder of who Oberheim was to the community of Champaign.
"Oberheim embodied what it meant to serve through trust, integrity and respect," Cobb said. "He took an oath to the oath of office, and he upheld that oath to his highest standard."
Hundreds of law enforcement officials, community members, Oberheim family members, as well as city officials, packed the streets of downtown Champaign. Matt Stuckey, a Champaign County resident, said he hopes those who drive, bike or walk by Honorary Christopher Oberheim Avenue take a second to remember the life lost in central Illinois.
"He just wasn't an officer, you know, with a badge and with a gun," Stuckey said. "He was like that, you know, Chief Cobb said he was a father, son, you know, brother, co-worker, friend. You know he was, he was a human behind the badge, and I think that's something that we tend to forget sometimes."
The Oberheim family was recognized at the ceremony and given exact copies of the street signs that line part of University Avenue in Champaign - a symbol of their fallen hero and of their strength.
"The Christopher Oberheim name is now deeply engrained in hearts of this community," Cobb said in closing.