Archive for October 2nd, 2019

Of interest … South Holland firefighters visit retired Chicago firefighter

Excerpts from the

Gordon Grand Pre has vivid memories of his first assignment as a Chicago firefighter in the 1950s. When he arrived at the burning three-story building, people were jumping from windows to escape the blaze. He initially froze but another firefighter patted him on the back and said, “Keep moving, they’ll jump on you, if you don’t.”

Now 93, Grand Pre sometimes struggles with his powers of recollection. But that memory stands strong in his mind.

Grand Pre, a resident of Arden Courts Memory Care Community of South Holland, has memory lapses, but he remembers those early years as a first responder firefighter like they were yesterday.

He had a chance to relive some of that excitement recently, when the South Holland Fire Department came to visit him for a “Hearts Desire” event.

While these were firefighters from the local department, they still sparked nostalgia in Grand Pre for his 35 years on the job.

His wife remembers when her husband left for a week-long firefighting stint during the Chicago riots of 1968 and she packed him a care package of soup, crackers, and candy bars. He carried the food in a sack tied to the end of a stick, like a hobo. 

After the firefighters arrived and greeted Grand Pre, they led him to the firetruck and took him for a ride around the neighborhood. His family stood by smiling and clapping.

South Holland Fire Chief Brian Kolosh said he was happy to receive the invitation to make Grand Pre’s day special.

“Once you’re in the fire service, you’re always in the fire family,” said Kolosh. “Whatever we can do as a fire department, we’re going to do to make it a memorable moment for him.”

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Evanston Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

A law, signed on August 23 by Governor J.B. Pritzker, amends the Illinois Municipal Code and the Fire Protection District Act. The change will now allow qualified candidates to receive hiring preference if they have had the 600 hours of work within a 12-month period as part of a certified apprenticeship program.

These applicants can receive up to 20 points added to their firefighter eligibility list score, thus increasing their chances of employment.

The bill was sponsored by state Rep. Robyn Gabel in collaboration with the Evanston Fire Department. The bill was also developed with the help of the Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois as well as the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association.

The Evanston Fire Department is working with Oakton Community College to create a three-year apprenticeship program. The program would complement the Fire Explorer Program geared toward young adults.

The Fire Explorer Program currently helps men and women aged 14-20 learn the basic skills of firefighting and EMS. The program also offers ride-alongs and opportunities to assist with routine tasks around the fire department and in the community.

The three-year apprenticeship program is expected to launch in the fall of 2020.

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A request for assistance …

My name is Abby Breger and I am the Training Manager at The Anti-Cruelty Society in Chicago.I’m reaching out because we are in need of safety training. Our building is very large and I was looking for a professional to come in and educate our staff on fire safety protocols within our building. I was wondering if this is something the Chicago Fire Department provides? I look forward to hearing back from you.

Thank you,