Lake Zurich Fire Chief David Wheelock has been lauded for reaching a longevity milestone as a village employee.
Wheelock, a lifelong Lake Zurich resident, was recognized for his 35 years at a recent village board meeting.
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As Wheelock stood next to him at a podium, Mayor Thomas Poynton said it's uncommon for employees to reach 20 or 30 years with the village.
"But 35 years marks a rare achievement for a longtime village employee," Poynton said. "Fire Chief Dave Wheelock is celebrating a milestone that is not often seen."
Environmental quality control supervisor Betty Harrison, a member of the village's employee relations committee, put into perspective how long Wheelock has worked for Lake Zurich.
"I think back," Harrison told Wheelock, "and 35 years ago, I was a student at Kansas State and never even heard of Lake Zurich. And here you started such an illustrious career, and I hope for many more years."
Wheelock was a Lake Zurich High School student when he began as a fire department cadet. He was hired as a paramedic June 1, 1979.
He worked his way to deputy fire chief, where he remained for 20 years until he was sworn in for the top post in August 2011. Wheelock replaced Terry Mastandrea, who retired after spending 21 years as Lake Zurich's fire chief.
About a dozen fire employees were at village hall to see Wheelock receive a proclamation and a plaque recognizing his 35 years. Wheelock expressed his appreciation for the kudos.
"I just want to say thank you, first of all, to everybody -- the (village) staff and the fire department," Wheelock said. "That's truly what makes my position easier. Thank you to all the trustees, the mayors and everybody that's been here and I worked with for 35 years. It's been a great run -- and this isn't a retirement speech -- so I'll leave it at that."
In the village proclamation, Wheelock was lauded for being "a role model for the entire Lake Zurich area community and as an exemplary American citizen."