Archive for January 18th, 2018

Of interest … Scott Stewart

Excerpts from the

In Scott Stewart’s home office, photographs from his career highlights cover three of the four walls. The 61-year-old was laid off in 2013 from his job as a Chicago Sun-Times photographer. After 28 years working for the newspaper, he had to shift to his former career as a firefighter. 

Stewart is a third-generation firefighter. His paternal grandfather worked for the Rome Fire Department while his uncle served the Cave Springs Fire Department, both in Georgia.  Stewart and his father spent their Sundays visiting Chicago firehouses because his father was a friend of Chicago Fire Commissioner Robert J. Quinn.

He lost his father at age 8 and his mother when he was 16. That’s when he received a call from Quinn, then head of the Chicago Civil Defense Fire and Rescue Division, who encouraged Stewart to volunteer. He spent the next decade as a volunteer where he rose to the rank of captain.

After his time as a volunteer, he met Cathy, his wife of 35 years, who was a volunteer for the Merrionette Park Fire Department.

Stewart picked up his first camera at age 8, and his neighbor Fred Stein helped nurture a lifelong passion. Their friendship led to Stewart’s first job in journalism at the Chicago Daily News, where Stein was a photographer. 

During the 70s, Stewart worked for Central Camera. His boss let him open up a credit line allowing him to purchase his first camera. After returning home, he heard sirens and headed to the corner of 55th and Hyde Park, where two CTA buses had crashed. He took pictures of the scene and offered the photos to the Daily News, Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune and The Associated Press. By the time the papers bought his pictures, he earned almost $500, enough to pay off the store credit.

He studied photojournalism at Columbia College and graduated in 1977.  Years later, Stewart was hired by the Sun-Times as a darkroom technician and then a photographer. He once flew on Air Force One during Ronald Reagan’s presidency where Reagan called him into the plane’s Oval Office to congratulate him on the birth of his daughter.

The next year, he was covering Chicago violence which ultimately lead to a 2011 Pulitzer Prize. As school children walked on the sidewalk across the street from a liquor store, four gang members stood outside the shop and one had a gun. His photo captured a gun and drug deal, with the children in view.

Stewart’s 28-years with the Sun-Times ended on May 30, 2013 when the newspaper dismissed its photography staff.  He worked at the Evergreen Park Fire Department as head of the photo unit after the layoff, but couldn’t find work as a full-time photographer. Merrionette Park offered him his old job as a firefighter where he was recently promoted to lieutenant. In addition to working as Evergreen Park’s photographer, he’s a member of the MABAS Division 21 Cause and Origin Team.

He worked six jobs at one point, but all those efforts to pay the bills came to a screeching halt in March. Stewart was out of work after being diagnosed with a detached retina. He received an emergency vitrectomy in April that left him recovering for nine weeks. A short time later his retina was detached again. Another doctor promised he’d return to photography, and a second operation left him with a long recovery and no work for another six weeks. An online fundraising page helped him through that troubling time.

Despite everything Stewart says he wouldn’t change any of it. He’s stayed positive with the help of his three favorite things: photography, the fire department, and his beloved Cathy. He’ll always be a photographer and fire fan, and he having found a way to merge both passions into one.

thanks Dan

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East Hazel Crest FD updates

This from Matt Schumann:

Here a few updates for East Hazel Crest.
They are now MABAS Div. 24 Stations 17 and 18.  The Chevy Caprice has been replaced by these vehicles.
Matt Schumann
East Hazel Crest FD Car 17

East Hazel Crest Car 17 – 2003 Chevy Tahoe. Matt Schumann photo

East Hazel Crest FD Car 17X

East Hazel Crest Car 17X – 2008 Ford Crown Victoria. Matt Schumann photo

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Calumet City Fire Department history

This from Wayne Stuart for #tbt:

The Calumet City Fire Department operated this 1974 Mack pumper. It had a 1250 GPM pump and a 500 gallon tank. It ran for many years as Engine Co. 306  from Fire Station #1. It is the one and only lime green colored apparatus that the department operated.

wayne stuart photo

Calumet City FD Mack CF fire engine

Calumet City Fire Department Engine 306 – 1974 Mack pumper 1250/500.
wayne stuart photo

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Long Grove Fire Department history

For #throwbackthursday from Larry Shapiro

Long Grove FD Engine 796

Vintage GMC/Howe fire engine from Long Grove, IL. Larry Shapiro photo

Long Grove FD Engine 796

Vintage GMC/Howe fire engine from Long Grove, IL. Larry Shapiro photo

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