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CHAMPAIGN — As a massive U.S. flag suspended from the ladders of two fire trucks waved in the breeze, hundreds gathered Tuesday in front of a stage at a street corner in the heart of downtown Champaign to honor just the third officer in the police department’s history to lose his life in the line of duty.

“For more than two months, we have continued to reflect, mourn and honor the selfless service and sacrifice of Officer Christopher Oberheim,” police Chief Anthony Cobb said. “Honoring his memory is a work in progress that has no end date, which is why we’re here this evening.

“We also come together to celebrate his life, and the tremendous and positive impact he had on our community, the law-enforcement profession, and importantly, how beloved he was as a father, son, brother, coach and friend.”

Tuesday’s ceremony was for an effort to honor Officer Oberheim in perpetuity with the unveiling of a sign that reads Honorary Christopher Oberheim Avenue, the new designation given to the stretch of University Avenue between Neil Street and Chestnut Street as Honorary Christopher Oberheim Avenue.

While honorary street designations normally expire after 10 years, this sign — and ones like it in the future — will be different, according to the city council proclamation read by Mayor Deb Feinen and Deputy Mayor Will Kyles.

“Under city council policy, honorary street names for any city employee who lost their life in the line of duty ... shall be for an indefinite term,” Feinen read.

Members of the late officer’s family sat behind the podium as Cobb made his remarks and Feinen and Kyles read the proclamation.

Wife Amber and their four daughters pulled away the traditional black-and-purple drape to reveal the new sign.

After her husband was fatally shot at 3:20 a.m. May 19 while responding to a domestic-disturbance call at a north Champaign apartment complex, Amber Oberheim founded Peacemaker Project 703, a nonprofit named after his badge number that supports police officers.

In recent weeks, the foundation announced it will donate money to build a 30-acre recreational facility in Monticello, where the family lives.

It will be named Oberheim Park.

“Officer Christopher Oberheim’s name is now deeply ingrained in the hearts of this community,” Cobb said, “for what he stood for and the ultimate sacrifice he made.”

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