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|Simkins Appointed Galesburg Fire Chief
|POSTED 9:49 a-m, UPDATED 12:25 p-m 6/4/10 The man who's served as Galesburg's interim fire chief now has the job on a permanent basis.
Galesburg City Manager Dane Bragg appointed Tom Simkins as the the city's 23rd fire chief Friday morning at City Hall. Simkins, a former battalion chief who was named interim chief after John Cratty retired as chief 10 months ago, has 25 years experience in fire service. Prior to Galesburg, Simkins served with the Abingdon and Monmouth Fire Departments.
Bragg says the appointment of Simkins as fire chief is the city's first since October of 1994, when Cratty was appointed. He went on to have a 30 year career. Bragg says interest in the job was strong.
"The city received 28 applications for the position of chief. We interviewed eight candidates and three of those candidates were selected as finalists," Bragg said. "Each of those finalists went through a rigorous assessment by the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association, and then those three finalists were also interviewed by a community panel."
The community panel members included Knox County Board chairman Greg Bacon, George Peterson, incoming Carl Sandburg College president Dr. Lori Sundberg and Galesburg 4th Ward alderman Corine Anderson, who Bragg says is the daughter of a firefighter.
Bragg called Simkins' experience on the front lines, in addition to his work with training, administration and strategy in the fire service, "outstanding." Bragg also praised Simkins for what he referred to as his unwavering dedication during a lifetime of service to the department and the city.
Simkins credited the department's previous leader for getting him to where he is today.
"I would especially like to thank former chief John Cratty for the guidance and opportunities he provided me and the outstanding shape in which he left department on his retirement last August," Simkins said. "It is not lost on me that this fact played a key role in the selection of an internal candidate."
Galesburg has 45 firefighters, and Simkins says beyond the obvious tasks at hand, the fire department will strive to continue to treat everyone it encounters with a large dose of kindness and respect - doing everything possible to make their day a little better.
Tom Simkins takes the oath of office from Galesburg City Clerk Kelli Bennewitz after he was appointed the next Galesburg fire chief Friday morning
Tom Simkins speaks to the gathering at City Hall Friday morning that showed up to see him sworn in as Galesburg's next fire chief
(WGIL News Story and Photos by Mike Perry)
|06 03 10 by Newsroom
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