Archive for March 20th, 2016

Nurse remembered for teaching emergency medicine

Excerpts from

Cheryl Michalek had a nickname that captured her lemon-and-honey blend of tart but motherly care: “Trauma Mama.” She taught emergency medical treatment to thousands of first-responders, who in turn passed down the lessons they learned to even more emergency medical technicians, paramedics, firefighters, and police officers.

Mrs. Michalek died March 5 at her Riverdale home after a struggle with Parkinson’s disease, according to Richard Michalek, her husband of 57 years. She was 77. Her wake and funeral were filled with firefighters and police officers in dress uniforms. The Dolton Fire Department raised an aerial ladder and flew the American flag.

A couple of nights a week for decades, Mrs. Michalek, still in uniform, would finish a nursing shift at Little Company of Mary Hospital and head to the emergency medical services classes she volunteered to teach in the south and southwest suburbs a couple of nights a week.

“She always instilled when you’re taking care of the patient, you need to treat that person like family,” said Midlothian Fire Chief Stephen M. Hotwagner. “They’re somebody’s brother, dad, daughter, son. Give them the same respect and care you expect your family to receive.”

It wasn’t always easy for her to stand before a room filled with firefighters and police officers, some of them under-experienced but overconfident. But she was a city girl who grew up in North Roseland. If a lesson was interrupted by a know-it-all, Mrs. Michalek would make sure he wouldn’t make the same mistake twice. She might ask, “Do you wanna get yourself up here and you teach?”

“She educated and trained so many emergency medical technicians with passion and humility,” said Dr. Bernie Heilicser of Ingalls Hospital, medical director of the South Cook County EMS System.

Those who went through the classes she organized included three Chicago fire commissioners; James Joyce, Ray Orozco Jr., and Robert Hoff, according to her son Gary Michalek, a Chicago firefighter.

“Cheryl’s one of the pioneers,” said Dr. Michael O’Mara, chair of emergency medicine at Little Company of Mary. “She was one of the first nurses to teach EMTs on the whole South Side.”


“I remember my mother going in her purse and digging out pennies to buy a pool pass for the summer,” said Sue Stacey, a dispatch supervisor. “We always had each other. We didn’t take vacations, but we had Sunday dinner.”

If her EMT students were struggling, she invited them over for study groups, said another son, Rick, who went into construction.

She is also survived by another son, Scott, a Metra conductor, 13 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

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Frankfort FPD history

This from Mike Summa:;

With all the fuss about Frankfort buying a Snorkel, here is an old photo of Frankfort’s first Snorkel.  Unknown manufacturer/type/height, but still great to look at.  Sold in later years to the Robbins Fire Department.  Hope you enjoy,
Mike S.
Frankfort PFD Snorkel

Frankfort PFD Snorkel. Mike Summa photo

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New tower ladder for Elmhurst (more)

Updated production photos of the new tower ladder being built for Elmhurst

fire truck being built

Fire truck being built for the Elmhurst Fire Department. E-ONE photo

fire truck being built

E-ONE photo

fire truck being built

E-ONE photo

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