Wauconda fire chief retiring after nearly 34 years on the job

Wauconda Fire District Chief Mike Wahl is retiring after nearly 34 years with the department.

Wahl is stepping down effective Jan. 1, according to a district news release. A traditional walkout ceremony is planned for Dec. 15, his last day on the job.

Wahl couldn't be reached for comment.

He joined the department as a firefighter-paramedic in May 1984 and rose through the ranks. He's been fire chief since 2015.

Wahl also has served as Wauconda's emergency management agency director, and he's served on Illinois' emergency services management and incident management teams, among other responsibilities.

The fire district is an independent agency with its own governing board, unlike traditional municipal fire departments that are overseen by village boards or city councils. It serves Wauconda, Island Lake and other communities.

Fire district board President Bill Hogan said Wahl's dedication to emergency management and public safety "made life better for all Wauconda-area residents."

Wauconda village Trustee Tim Howe called Wahl "a tremendous asset" for the district.

Howe specifically praised Wahl for organizing the annual Guns & Hoses golf outing, which raises college scholarship money for local students.

"I'm happy to count Mike as a friend and offer my heartiest congratulations on his retirement," Howe said.

The fire district board has selected David Geary, the agency's business manager, to succeed Wahl.

Geary joined the district in 1978 as a firefighter-paramedic and stayed on staff until 1990. He returned to the district in 2012 as business manager, a post with financial and administrative duties.

Geary, who couldn't be reached for comment, will be sworn in as the new chief Dec. 21.

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Incoming Fire Chief David Geary Courtesy of Wauconda Fire District
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