Cusack Brothers Awarded Herbie Johnson Scholarship

On Tuesday, December 8, 2015 the on-campus St. Rita Family gathered for an all-school Mass for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. After Mass, a student award ceremony occurred, including the presentation of the Herbie Johnson Foundation/Ignite the Spirit Scholarship.

St. Rita students Sean and Pat Cusack with their parents and Herbie Johnson Scholarship Award presenters.

On Tuesday, December 8, 2015 The on-campus St. Rita Family gathered in the St. Rita Shrine Chapel for an all-school Mass for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. After Mass a student award ceremony occured, including the presentation of the Herbie Johnson Scholarship -- awarded by the Herbie Johnson Foundation and the Ignite the Spirit Fund.

St. Rita High School Hall-of-Fame member Herbie Johnson '76 was a staunch St. Rita Alumnus and parent to sons Tom '04, Mickey '11 and daughter Laurie. Captain Herbert T. Johnson died on November 2‚ 2012‚ at a working fire in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood. Captain Johnson was affectionately called Herbie by all of his friends. Herbie was extremely entertaining to anyone who met him; he had a great sense of humor and was‚ without a doubt‚ larger than life. Herbie helped people see the funny side of almost every situation. Besides being a wonderful husband to Susan‚ Herbie was a loyal friend‚ brother‚ and father. With his gift of storytelling and genuine concern for everyone‚ he was the glue keeping his friends‚ family‚ and department together. Read more about Herbie Johnson here.

The Captian Herbie Johnson Foundation's mission is to keep the charitable spirit of Herbie Johnson alive by assisting others. The Foundation's main event is a charity golf outing each summer attended by hundreds of Herbie's friends and family members.

Ignite the Spirit Fund is a charity founded in 2003. Since then it has helped over 350 families and donated over $1 million to help ease hardships on Chicago Fire Department families. They run and are involved in several events throughout the year.

The Herbie Johnson Scholarship is given to a St. Rita Student based on excellence in and out of the classroom. The Ritaman must display the same great leadership qualities that made Herbie Johnson the leader he was. Herbie's legacy will live on in this scholarship. 


This year, two St. Rita students won the Herbie Johnson Scholarship--brothers Sean '16 and Pat '19 Cusack. Sean is a senior and Pat is a freshman. Both young men are parishioners of St. Cajetan Parish and graduates of St. Cajetan School.

Susan Johnson (Herbie's widow), Ruth Johnson (Herbie's sister-in-law), and Dan McAuliffe and Jack Nagle from the Herbie Johnson Foundation were on hand, along with Rich Pinsky from Ignite the Spirit, to present the scholarship awards to Sean and Pat, who were accompanied by their parents Melissa and Matt Cusack. Both Sean and Pat will receive a $2,500 scholarship to be used for their continued education at St. Rita High School.