Prospect Heights firefighter Gus Tsoulos was named firefighter of the year by his peers and members of the fire command unit at the Prospect Heights Fire District's annual holiday awards dinner.
Tsoulos serves as a part-time firefighter/paramedic in Prospect Heights and as a full-time lieutenant for the Schaumburg Fire Department.
"His primary responsibility is serving from the east side fire station, which draws nearly 1,000 calls per year," said Deputy Fire Chief Timothy Jones. "He's a good fireman, who is well-liked and respected in the station."
Prospect Heights' east side station is in a densely populated area and responds primarily to calls at the multiunit apartment complexes near Wolf Road and Milwaukee Avenue as well as the Chicago Executive Airport.
Consequently, the station is stocked with its traditional fire engine and ambulance, as well as a crash truck for airport rescue firefighting and hazardous materials response.
Lt. Ed Kotowski described how Tsoulos took the lead during one recent incident.
"It was a possible building explosion," Kotowski said. "Gus took charge. His leadership and calm demeanor gained the respect of all the firefighters and paramedics working with him."
Fire Chief Donald R. Gould Jr. reflected on the fire district's 68th year serving the community. He cited as highlights the addition of three full-time fire lieutenants to the staff as well as the lowering of the fire insurance rating, leading to reduced property insurance rates.
Also recognized at the dinner was Jones, for 30 years of service; Battalion Chief Al Grzeslo, with 20 years; and firefighter Mike Kreher, for 20 years.
Lieutenants Kotowski and Steve Dorsey were honored for serving 15 years, while firefighters William Tranchita and Tsoulos were recognized for their 10 years of service.