Retired Lake Zurich fire marshal praised for educating

As he heads into retirement, Lake Zurich Deputy Fire Marshal John Bzdusek was hailed for improving education efforts and community involvement in the village.

Environmental quality control supervisor Betty Harrison, a member of the village's employee relations committee, is among those who said she'll miss Bzdusek, whose 11-year Lake Zurich Fire Department career officially closed Dec. 11.

"I must say, you have a way about you," Harrison told Bzdusek on the evening he was honored for his service at village hall. "You're a very calming person. You're just nice to be around. No matter what's going on, you just seem so very calm. I've always appreciated that."

Bzdusek, an Army veteran, spent about 27 years at the Park Ridge Fire Department before shifting to Lake Zurich in 2004. In addition to fire marshal, he was an inspector and public educator in Lake Zurich.

"Hopefully, in the last 11 years, I'm leaving (Lake Zurich) a little more fire-safe than when I came here," said Bzdusek, a Des Plaines resident. "And that is what we wanted to do."

Lake Zurich Mayor Thomas Poynton praised Bzdusek for his work and volunteerism that included the village's special events committee. He said Bzdusek regularly visited kindergarten and first-grade students at Lake Zurich Unit District 95.

"John his made his presence known in the Lake Zurich community, not just as a fire inspector, but often times as he routinely schooled kids, families and groups on the importance of fire safety," Poynton said during a Dec. 7 village board session.

Bzdusek's culinary skills were incorporated into his fire career. He was a firehouse chef for the 27 years he worked as a firefighter/paramedic and inspector in Park Ridge.

While not in the firehouse on a daily basis in Lake Zurich, he still worked food into his job in the village. Poynton said it was only natural for Bzdusek to become "a major influence" in the Lake Zurich Area Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours' annual Chili Cook-Off, hosted by the fire department.

Bzdusek shared his passion with a wider audience when he was named a Daily Herald Cook of the Week in 2008.

He said he received advice from a chef on using roasted fresh tomatoes and red pepper, garlic, cream and Asiago cheese after an inspection at Stoney River Legendary Steaks in Deer Park, which is covered by Lake Zurich Fire Department.

Bzdusek is known for his good cooking and was a Daily Herald Cook of the Week in 2008. Daily Herald file photo
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