Excerpts from the DailyHerald.com:

There have been many memorable moments for Paul DiRienzo in his 34 years of service with the Lombard Fire Department, but a silent parade marking the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks was one of the most striking.

As DiRienzo, 53, prepares to retire July 6 from his position as fire chief, countless other memories come to mind as well: Helping deliver several babies, breaking down walls during house fires and holding hands with people in distress.

The Lombard native took a paid on-call position with the fire department in October 1982. He became a full-time employee on July 6, 1986, exactly 30 years prior to his upcoming retirement date. When DiRienzo started working full-time for the department there were a minimum of four firefighters on duty each day. That number has grown to 15, to accommodate the more than 7,000 calls a year the department receives.

He stayed with the department so long because he enjoyed serving the town he grew up in and felt reinvigorated with each promotion. He became a lieutenant in 2001 and took on the role of battalion chief in 2012 for a short period before becoming chief.

A national search is underway to find DiRienzo’s replacement. Last week, the village board agreed to pay Patrick Gericke, a retired Matteson fire chief, $60 per hour to serve as interim fire chief for three months, or until a new chief is hired. Gericke served as interim chief in Lombard in 2012 as well, prior to DiRienzo’s promotion.

thanks Dan