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|Officials, Friends Honor Retiring Galesburg Fire Chief
|Both a happy and sad occasion -- that's how one of the speakers described a ceremony Friday evening honoring a longtime City of Galesburg employee calling it a career after 30-years.
Monday is the last day for Fire Chief John Cratty, but he was honored last night at Galesburg's Orpheum Theatre. Among the ways State Representative Don Moffitt described Cratty -- a "calm voice of reason," a "firefighter's firefighter and a chief's chief," and -- perhaps most importantly -- a "tough act to follow."
But Moffitt also had a few more words.
"I think of 'brother'...part of the (firefighting) brotherhood," Moffitt said. "Someone that's brave, someone that's imaginative, inventive, someone that's gallant. If you take the first letters of those words of "character," "honorable," and "integrity," and "example," and "firefighter," it would spell "chief." And that is the description of (Chief Cratty). But there's more. If you add "brother," and "imaginative," and "gallant," you get "big chief."
A number of speakers cited how important Cratty became not only to the Galesburg Fire Department, but to others in the area, writing grants and obtaining equipment that could be used in the local mutual aid area.
The firefighters union, battalion chiefs, city officials, and others all presented Cratty with retirement gifts as well.
"My leaving on Monday at 5pm -- and I'll probably sneak out a little early -- there will not be a blink," Cratty said, "because of these gentlemen (the firefighters) and this lady (administrative assistant Carol Devlin) on stage. I think that should be a comfort to the City of Galesburg."
Cratty starts Tuesday working with the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System. That's also the day current Battalion Chief Tom Simkins takes over as interim chief, until a permanent successor could be found.
(Galesburg and Mutual Aid Box Alarm System equipment sat on display Friday evening outside the Galesburg Orpheum Theatre.)
(Galesburg Fire Chief John Cratty talks with guests at his retirement reception Friday.)
(A fire department recliner attached to some classic firefighting equipment awaited Chief Cratty upon his arrival on stage Friday.)
(Cratty was invited to sit in the recliner during his ceremony.)
(Cratty receives an Illinois House commendation from State Rep. Don Moffitt.)
(Chief John Cratty received a clock from the City of Galesburg as a retirement gift -- one of a number of gifts he received Friday.)
(Cratty passes a ceremonial horn on to Battalion Chief Tom Simkins Friday. Simkins takes over as Interim Chief Tuesday.)
(Galesburg firefighters gather on the Orpheum stage for a group photo. WGIL News Story and Photos by Will Stevenson.)
|08 28 09 by Newsroom
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