Source: Sherman Publications

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Farewell, Chief Schulz!

by CJ Carnacchio

July 11, 2012

Joe Schnur playing "Amazing Grace" on the bagpipes. Photo by C.J. Carnacchio.
More than 100 family members, friends, neighbors and colleagues packed Addison Fire Station #1 Saturday to pay homage to Robert Edward Schulz, who served as chief from 1990-94.

"Bob did nothing in his life only halfway," said Leonard Village President Mike McDonald, who delivered a eulogy. "He was an 'all in' kind of guy and he displayed the same integrity and tenacity when dealing with the fire department."

Schulz passed away in Florida on May 13, 2012 at age 69. Judging by the outpouring of respect and emotion at the memorial service, he may be gone, but he's certainly not forgotten, especially for his contributions toward modernizing, professionalizing and stabilizing Addison's fire service.

"What he brought to the table as fire chief (was) 'far ahead of his time,'" said McDonald, who served as township supervisor when Schulz was hired and later became a paid-on-call firefighter under him. "Bob was willing to go where many politicians and service providers will not go unless prompted or forced to.

"The real misfortune is that some of Bob's best efforts fell on the deaf ears of officials who considered the existing levels of service to be adequate. I think the current evolution of the Addison Township Fire Department bears out the vision that Bob had for the fire department."

McDonald credited Schulz for finally convincing him to join the department and serve his community in way that went well beyond his duties as township supervisor.

"Several previous fire chiefs and (agency) members had approached me about joining the department in the past and I always seemed to have a reason not to join," he explained.

"Bob changed that for me. He very simply informed me that from what he had seen, I was not the type of person that would drive by or pass by someone needing assistance, and since that was the case, why wouldn't I want to be prepared to help someone right away by learning the proper first aid and rescue techniques."

Despite the hard work and long hours, McDonald truly loved the job and for that, he'll always owe Schulz a debt of gratitude.

"I am forever grateful to Chief Schulz for opening the door and introducing me to it," he said. "I think Bob would probably not be thrilled by our tributes to him today . . . I hope he will forgive us this one day (during) which we eulogize and appreciate his life in public.

"I tell you now that Bob is surely missed."