LINCOLN PARK — A local business is fundraising to help the family of firefighter Andrew “Drew” Prince, who died battling a Monday morning blaze in Lincoln Park.
Supreme Jiu Jitsu, 2442 N. Lincoln Ave., is hosting an open mat 4:30 p.m. and a class 6 p.m. Friday. Both are pay-what-you-can, and all proceeds will go toward Price’s family, head instructor and owner Idriz Redzovic said. Firefighters will also be able to get a month of free classes.
Price died after falling through a light shaft at 2430-32 N. Lincoln Ave., which houses the Lincoln Station bar and grill and apartments. He had been on the job since March 2009, and he left behind a wife and children. He was 39.
Supreme Jiu Jitsu is two doors down from the Lincoln Station bar and grill, and Redzovic and his students would gather there often after practices, he said. While he wasn’t there the morning of the tragedy, he said he woke up to a steady stream of messages about it from concerned students and friends.
When Redzovic learned Price died, he knew he wanted to help, he said. Some of his close mentors and students knew Price, Redzovic said.
“When a hero does something, we should step up and turn a negative situation into a positive situation,” he said. “Someone lost their son, their husband, trying to protect us, trying to protect my business. He’s a hero. And when heroes fall, we should step up to honor them.”
Jiu-jitsu is a modern martial arts form that focuses on self-defense, Redzovic said. The open mat is for people who are already in training to hold mock fights, while the class he plans to lead on Friday is for people to learn the basic principles.
Redzovic said jiu-jitsu also helps people deal with failure and learn persistence, and it is about grounding yourself and staying in the moment. Many of his clients have dealt with traumatic events, including loss and grief, and have used jiu-jitsu to channel their energy more productively, he said.
“It teaches you discipline, it teaches you execution. It relates to everything in life — it teaches you how to be a better husband, a better father, a better son,” he said. After a traumatic event “you can come in here and you hang out with other people that are positive and you move all that stress out.”
Redzovic plans to drop off donations to the family early next week at Price’s station house and will continue to find other ways to give back, he said. He said he’s hopeful the family will be able to use the money to pay off at least a few of their debts or fund other necessities.
“We’ve got to stand up when something like this happens,” he said. “It’s a sad situation. I know the stuff that people go through. I want to be that positive light in people’s lives.”
Listen to the Block Club Chicago podcast: