Excerpts from the DailyNorthShore.com:
When Jerry Kluchka was honored during a Lake Bluff Village Board of Trustees meeting on Dec. 14 for 30 years of service to the Lake Bluff Fire Department, his three firefighter sons were there to share the honor with him.
Tim Kluchka, 30, is a member of the North Chicago Fire Department; Matt Kluchka, 25, works for the Lake Forest Fire Department; and Russell Kluchka, 23, fights fires in Highwood.
Lake Bluff’s department consists entirely of volunteers, and all four Kluchkas serve in their hometown. They said when a call goes out to multiple towns, they head to the blaze but not always from the same place.
“It’s definitely interesting,” Russell Kluchka said. “One time there was a fire in Lake Forest, I got there from Highwood and we all saw each other. People give us a hard time. They say ‘it’s you again.”
Jerry Kluchka, who has lived in Lake Bluff since elementary school, joined the department just before Tim was born.
“I had friends whose fathers were firemen,” Kluchka said. “We got to go inside the fire station when I was a little guy. In Lake Bluff they blew the siren to call the volunteers. We lived nearby and ran down to the station to see the fire trucks leave.”
Using his mechanical skills, Jerry started volunteering. He said he worked on the equipment and it was not long before he was a firefighter. As his family started to grow, the next generation of Kluchka men hung around the firehouse like their father did as a youth.
All four are paramedics. Tim, Matt and Russell said they all took EMT courses while in high school and were volunteering in their teens.
“There were times I ditched school to go on an ambulance call,” Tim Kluchka said. “I’d come in for the last periods (of the day) and got some looks.”
“My wife got some calls about that,” Jerry Kluchka added.
Though the younger generation of Kluchkas are full-time firemen, Jerry Kluchka is a volunteer.