Bob McDermott is retiring as Forest Park’s fire chief. After 32 years on the job, the last 17 as either chief or deputy chief, McDermott felt it was time for the department to have a fresh perspective.

Unexpectedly, he will be bringing that fresh set of eyes to neighboring North Riverside, which snapped him up as its new chief immediately upon word of his planned departure from Forest Park. Just down Desplaines Avenue, the North Riverside department has been embroiled in a multi-year battle royal between village hall and the union firefighters. Now with that fight cooling, North Riverside might benefit from McDermott’s calm approach and stellar reputation.

Certainly he is highly regarded by his Forest Park colleagues — both in village administration and the rank and file. Steve Glinke, who proceeded him as chief and continues as head of public safety in town, lavishes praise on McDermott for his strategic thinking — as a firefighter and fire administrator.

McDermott considers himself “the luckiest person alive” for the opportunities he has had in Forest Park, reaching the top job in a department he aspired to since his boyhood in Forest Park.

We thank him and wish him well.