Mundelein fire department gets a new boss

Mundelein promotes deputy chief to helm

  • Mundelein's new chief deputy fire chief, William Lark, recites his oath of office Monday with help from Village Clerk Katy Timmerman.

      Mundelein's new chief deputy fire chief, William Lark, recites his oath of office Monday with help from Village Clerk Katy Timmerman. Russell Lissau | Staff Photographer

  • Mundelein's new Chief Deputy Fire Chief William Lark, left, is congratulated by Village Clerk Katy Timmerman as Village Administrator John Lobaito shoots a picture in the background.

      Mundelein's new Chief Deputy Fire Chief William Lark, left, is congratulated by Village Clerk Katy Timmerman as Village Administrator John Lobaito shoots a picture in the background. Russell Lissau | Staff Photographer

  • Mundelein Chief Deputy Fire Chief Ben Yoder is retiring. In this file photo, he's telling Trustee Dawn Abernathy about the gear inside the department's public education van.

      Mundelein Chief Deputy Fire Chief Ben Yoder is retiring. In this file photo, he's telling Trustee Dawn Abernathy about the gear inside the department's public education van. Russell Lissau | Staff Photographer, 2016

 
 
Updated 1/10/2017 8:19 PM

The Mundelein Fire Department has a new boss.

Veteran firefighter William Lark was sworn in as the department's chief deputy chief Monday. He'll replace Ben Yoder, who is retiring effective Monday.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Lark, most recently a deputy chief with the department, recited the oath at village hall with help from Village Clerk Katy Timmerman. His wife, Roenna, stood at his side.

The fire department hasn't had a full chief since 2015. Administratively, both the fire department and police department fall under the supervision of Public Safety Director Eric Guenther.

Yoder has run the day-to-day operations of the fire department since then, and that'll be Lark's new job.

Lark joined the department in 1990 as a paid-on-call firefighter after answering a newspaper ad. He thought being a firefighter "would be a fairly neat thing to do."

Lark started working full time with the department in 1994 and advanced through the ranks over time.

"It's been a great career," said Lark, of Mundelein. "I love what I do."

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Guenther said Lark was the "clear choice" to lead the department.

"I have all the confidence he will do a great job moving the Mundelein Fire Department into the future," Guenther said.

Yoder grew up in Mundelein and spent his entire firefighting career here. He started as a paid-on-call firefighter in 1989 and joined the department as a full-time firefighter in 1992.

Promotions followed, and ultimately he was named chief deputy chief in August 2015.

"I've enjoyed serving the citizens of Mundelein ... helping people in a time of need," Yoder said. "It's something I've always taken very seriously."

He called becoming a chief in his hometown department "every boy's dream."

Guenther praised Yoder during Monday's village board meeting, saying he "truly cares about the men and women that work for him, and this village."

Trustee Ray Semple, a classmate of Yoder at Mundelein High School, had kind words for his friend, too. He talked of Yoder's youthful skills on the football field and baseball diamond and his transition to a career in public safety.

"Obviously, he knows the town and is very passionate about this community," Semple said. "Ben, you're the poster child for homegrown leadership here in Mundelein."

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