The holidays are here and we hope they continue to be safe for each and every one of you. We’re here to help achieve that goal so don’t hesitate to call on us if we can help you check your smoke or carbon monoxide detectors or provide any advice when it comes to your home or business safety issues. Our annual fire prevention week open house was another success thanks to almost 1200 of you that attended the 3-hour event this year. Our staff was excited about showing you a snapshot of the services we provide and just a small slice of the expertise your Plainfield Fire District members are able to offer. Thanks again for all of your support and we hope you’ll be able to join us at next year’s open house.

As you may have read in the Profiles section of previous On The Scene newsletters we will have three significant members of our Fire District retire at the end of this year. The first retirement is of our 33 year HR/Finance administrator Cheree Lewis. She began her career as a fulltime administrative assistant downtown at former fire station 1 on Des Plaines. She’s been the hub of the evolving growth of our fire district, learning and doing more as our operations grew and became more complex, year after year. When Cheree began in 1985 there were only 6 fulltime employees and today there is a mix of about 135 fulltime and part time employees. We surely wouldn’t be where we are today without her dedication and commitment to the district and our residents. Cheree plans on doing more traveling with her husband Larry, while also enjoying her grandchildren and many hobbies. We sincerely wish her continued good health and happiness and know she’ll enjoy the well deserved life of retirement after doing so much for so many these past 33 years.

The second retirement is of our long-time IT/AV/CAD system coordinator, Jim Melaniphy who developed, implemented and maintained our growing reliance on that “side” of the business, without whom we’d be lagging in our efforts to deliver state-of-the-art services to our residents. Jim has also proudly served as a volunteer firefighter with us since 2004. He’s been an integral part of our operation since joining us full time and has continued to guide us by identifying weaknesses and vulnerabilities, developing systems to address those and continually looking for ways to improve those structures that support mission. We wish Jim and his wife Sally a long and fruitful retirement, enjoying their grandchildren along with their varied hobbies and interests.

Lastly, this past November Ralph Rouse, a member of our organization since 1950 retired. Most of us can only imagine the changes Ralph has seen both in the community and in our Fire District. One of the biggest must be the transition from a primarily volunteer organization to the primarily career agency it is today. Ralph clearly remembers the sad day in August of 1990 when the devastating tornado struck our community and has shared the memories of those horrible days that followed. He’s played a significant role with us over these past 67 years including being selected as Fireman of the Year in 1980 and 1992. His service as an officer with the volunteer department is notable and he’s been the President since 1979. We know Ralph and his wife Shirley will now get to enjoy a well-deserved retirement, finally! Cheree, Jim and Ralph will be greatly missed by all of us. With the changing weather upon us, please slow down, plan a little more time to get to your destinations and put the cell phone down while you’re driving; Stop The Texts – Stop The Wrecks!

As always,

Be careful out there…

David S. Riddle, Chief