Archive for March 31st, 2023

Of interest … ambulance donated to Ukraine

Excerpts from

“Hey dad, is there anything we can do to help?”

That was the question Chris Manson’s 9-year-old daughter Lilly asked this time last year that lead him to the creation of U.S. Ambulances for Ukraine.

In the ensuing months, Manson has built partnerships with Chicago’s Consulate General of Ukraine, UA Resistance, and several other medical organizations, leading to what will be their eighth shipment of ambulances and fire engines to Ukraine, set to depart from Valparaiso recently.

According to Manson, the most memorable part of organizing these donations is when they reach their final destination.

“You come up to the border, the Ukrainian border guard looks at what you got and he just says ‘thank you’ and ‘good luck,’” Manson said. “And you get in there and you start delivering that stuff. It’s incredibly meaningful.”

If you are interested in making a donation or finding a way to help, donations can be made on UA Resistance’s website, or you can follow Manson’s efforts on Twitter.

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New engine for Lombard; #LombardFD; #Pierce;

thanks Tim

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Niles Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

Niles Fire Department Explorer Post 28 advisor, fire engineer Jim Leibach, and members of the Explorer post received the Above and Beyond Volunteer Award from the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance at an event in Addison earlier this month.

Leibach and the Explorers were recognized for their work at Camp I Am Me, a summer camp for burn victims. Members of the post worked 12 to 14 hours setting up the event, running games during the event and tearing down tents and games after the event concluded.

“It’s a recognition for their hard work. This is just one accolade for the work this post is doing,” Niles Fire Chief Marty Feld said. “I couldn’t be prouder of him and the post.” He  praised Leibach’s work going to schools to present fire safety information to students during Fire Safety Week. He said Leibach has led the Niles Explorer Post for the last 10 to 15 years. 

Leibach recently brought Explorer members to Operation North Pole, to assist at Niles Family Services clothing and Christmas gift drives. Members of the post also march in parades, including on July 4 and during Halloween.

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New tanker for the Wauconda FPD

This from Tony Carlini:
a new order for Wauconda;
  • 2,500 gallons of water,
  • 1,500-GPM Waterous pump
  • single rear dump
  • ladder rack
  • port-a-tank rack
  • International chassis; #FireTruck; #WaucondaFD; #MarionBOdyWorks;

click to download

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Of interest … Dr. Elsburgh Clarke

Excerpts from

While some doctors play golf or tennis on their days off, one local emergency room physician spends his free time riding along with the Peoria Fire Department with his camera.

Dr. Elsburgh Clarke is an ER doctor at Hopedale Medical Complex. He’s been working in emergency medicine for more than 40 years and previously trained at LA County Hospital, where he began taking photographs.

“I started to do pictures in the ER. I have multiple pictures from back in the day, back in 1977, ‘78 when ‘ER’ was just coming about,” said Clarke, referring to the TV show.

Growing up, Clarke said he always knew he would be an FBI agent, a fireman, or a doctor. While he ended up as the latter, he always took an interest in fire departments, frequently following fire engines around whenever he could.

Once Clarke moved to Peoria in 2004 to continue his profession in emergency medicine, he met with then-Peoria Fire Department Chief Tony Ardis to ask if he could ride along with the department and take photographs. Ardis agreed, and the rest is history, literally.

“From 2004 to 2023, I’ve documented the Peoria Fire Department for 20 some-odd years, and it’s never been done before,” said Clarke.

Clarke’s portfolio, entitled “Eyes of Fire,” recently culminated in a Peoria Fire 2022 Yearbook.

“I want the world to see the eyes of a fireman…when they look at one photograph or one scene, it shows their dedication, their eyes, their intensity, their commitment…their loyalty,” said Clarke.

Clarke noted he’s not interested in taking the standard, grip and grin type photographs. Instead, he wants people to see what this line of work really entails. And according to Clarke, the response from the Peoria Fire Department has been overwhelmingly positive.

“I’m honored and humbled,” said Clarke, noting that none of his work is produced with the expectation of any accolades. According to Clarke, the family he has made within the Peoria Fire Department is much more important.

“I get chills. They are my extended family. Seriously, I have never been so blessed and so happy to have them,” Clarke said. “They’re like my brothers and sisters and they have welcomed me into their departments in full.”

Notably, Clarke said when he put this project into motion back in 2004, he always expected it to continue for this long. In fact, he doesn’t plan on stopping any time soon.

Clarke also occasionally rides along with the police department and the SWAT team. He said he’s really just a kid at heart who loves seeking adrenaline and highlighting the important work that emergency personnel do on a daily basis.

For those interested in purchasing “Peoria Fire 2022 Yearbook,” or any of Dr. Elsburgh Clarke’s other work, email him at

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