Peoria Heights fire department recognizes 60-year veteran, 100th

Peoria Heights fire department recognizes 60-year veteran, 100th anniversary

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Trucks from every era of fire protection traveled down Prospect road to the cheers of village residents. Trucks from every era of fire protection traveled down Prospect road to the cheers of village residents.
PEORIA HEIGHTS, Ill. (HOI) -- -

Fire trucks are usually a part of every parade, but it's not often that they're the stars.

The Peoria Heights Fire Department was founded in July of 1917, and since then firefighters have worked tirelessly to keep the village safe. 

"100 years for any fire department is a milestone," said Chief Greg Walters. "That means we've...somebody along the way, my predecessors and the personnel I'm with right now have done a good job."

Following the parade and show-and-tell, featuring decades of different fire fighting equipment, Congressman Darin LaHood and Peoria Heights Mayor Michael Phelan both presented declarations of appreciation to the department. 

"We have a fantastic fire department, so being Mayor and being able to honor those people who have kept us safe for 100 years now, it's fantastic," said Phelan.

Of course, the fire department itself wouldn't get anywhere without the men and women behind the hoses.  While the party was about celebrating a century of service, the focus was on one man who spent 60 years serving Peoria Heights.

Assistant Chief Don Faulkner was the parade's grand marshal - he started working for the department in 1957. Even though he can't hold the hose anymore, he still offers advice, encouragement, and plenty of stories.

"There's a lot of retirees out there, they didn't stay down like did," explained Faulkner. "But I liked it so well that I just stayed with it."

Faulkner served alongside his son-in-law and grandson, with the whole family turning out in support and using him as a source of inspiration.

"We didn't have a holiday, a Thanksgiving or a Christmas without the pager going off and him and my father running out," said Faulkner's grandson, Joshua Reichert. "And as soon as I turned 18, it was - it was just a family thing. I knew I had to get on the department too."

It was a celebration dedicated to one man - and the heroes he serves alongside.

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