The promotions handed out by the Elgin Fire Department Friday will demand a lot of future hard work but also will yield major rewards.
Those were the words of Elgin Assistant Fire Chief Tim Maroder during the swearing-in ceremony for newly promoted Capt. Dan Rink and Lt. Dave Gartrell at The Centre of Elgin.
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"Both men have high moral character," Maroder said. "They're exactly the type of people that we look to promote, that we look to be our leaders."
Rink, 45, an 18-year-veteran, oversees the department's records management system, which he has helped modernize. He's been an instructor for the former Elgin Regional Fire Academy, and a member of the dive team and the department's now-defunct grade school fire station program, Maroder said.
Rink thanked his parents, who raised their six kids largely on a teacher's salary, for instilling his work ethic.
"I'm excited to begin the next step in my career," he said.
Gartrell, 46, a 12-year veteran, has worked extensively with the city's fire prevention bureau on commercial and retail business inspections, Maroder said.
He also logged nine years of active duty with the U.S. Navy, during which he moved up 16 ranks to become a full lieutenant, Maroder said.
It's crucial to know the people who work with you, especially what makes them tick, he said.
"Honesty is such an important aspect of leadership," he said. "You have to be able to stand up and effectively evaluate your people."
The promotions came in the wake of the retirement of Capt. Ken Nelson, a 21-year veteran of the department, which numbers 133 firefighters.
It's important to celebrate traditions such as promotion ceremonies, Elgin Fire Chief John Fahy said.
"To get to this point is an incredible amount of work," he said.