Excerpts from the ChicagoTribune.com:

Hometown Fire Protection District Fire Chief John C. Hojek Jr. recently was named the Illinois Fire Chief of the Year by the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association.

Hojek was selected by the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association based on his accomplishments, including life safety advancement, innovative and entrepreneurial efforts and accomplishments, education and scholastic achievements, public service performance and more.

Since becoming fire chief in 2009, Hojek has transformed the fire district from one using volunteers to one using paid and part-time personnel that provides 24/7 coverage year-round.

“The guys are really the driving force behind our fire department,” Hojek said. “We really have a great, dedicated group of firemen.¬†We have a lot of things in the department I take pride in. The advanced life support system we have implemented is incredible.”

Hometown has about 5,000 residents.