Early on‚ Bruce wanted to be a fireman. When he was born‚ his father was in the Navy. At age three‚ Bruce would get on his tricycle and chase the fire trucks on the airbase to the fire‚ watching in awe as the firemen went to work. When his family moved back to Bourbonnais‚ they lived across the street from the Bourbonnais Fire Station. When a call came in‚ Bruce would run to the curb and watch the fire trucks go out.
Bruce was living in Bradley when he turned 18. A special meeting was held to vote him onto the Bradley Fire Department‚ mostly for his own safety‚ to keep him from following the fire trucks. A member of the department for 20 years‚ he moved up to the rank of lieutenant. During that time‚ he worked 13 years for Armour Pharmaceutical and then at Riverside Ambulance as a paramedic.
In 1994‚ Bruce was hired to create a curriculum and teach fire science/EMS at Kankakee Area Career Center. His curriculum was implemented by several other vocational schools in the state‚ and he was always looking for ways to improve it. Every year his students participated in the state competition with Skills USA‚ a vocational club that allows students to showcase hands-on skills in their area of study. His students placed in the top ten in the state every year‚ often in first‚ second and third place. Bruce was an excellent teacher and mentor who changed many young lives and was respected and loved by his students.
In 1997‚ Bruce and his family moved back to Bourbonnais. In 2000‚ he became the cadet advisor for the Bourbonnais Fire Protection District‚ a volunteer position. He put in many hours at the station‚ because that is what he truly enjoyed doing. In 2002‚ he was put on the department as a firefighter/EMT. Bruce loved the fire service and loved teaching it to the many bright young people he saw at the career center and as cadet advisor.
Bruce devoted his life to the fire service. He held certifications in about everything he could as a fireman‚ EMT-paramedic‚ and instructor. He appreciated his family understanding his devotion to the fire service and being gone a lot. His greatest love was his family‚ but the fire service was second. An inspiration to his fellow firefighters and students‚ his dedication and devotion were obvious in the many lives that he touched.
On April 26‚ 2003‚ Bruce was injured in a freak mowing accident at the station and died from his injuries the same day. Bruce truly was a fireman’s fireman. He is greatly missed by family‚ friends‚ coworkers and students.