New deputy chief calls firehouse family

Tim Conrad sworn in as deputy chief; Mike Kinder promoted to lieutenant

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By Maria Maxham

Tim Conrad was sworn in as Forest Park's deputy fire chief on Thursday, Dec. 30, taking the former position of Phil Chiappetta, who was promoted to chief in September after Bob McDermott retired.

Conrad, who became a lieutenant in 2016, has been with the Forest Park Fire Department (FPFD) since Oct. 16, 1991.

"Firefighting runs in the family," said Conrad, whose father, Ernie Conrad, was a firefighter in Brookfield for 30 years. "Ever since I was a young boy, I would go with him to fire calls when he was called in 'off duty,' to watch and experience the excitement of being a future firefighter," Conrad said.

His brother, Chris Conrad, is a firefighter in LaGrange.

Over the years, Conrad said he's found inspiration in many of those around him in the FPFD. His earliest inspiration, he said, is McDermott. "He was an excellent teacher, and throughout my years, he counseled me in many aspects as a firefighter, an acting officer, and a lieutenant."

Conrad also credits retired Fire Chief Steve Glinke as being one of his mentors. "I learned a lot of his firefighting techniques and how to navigate being a good manager," Conrad said.

Retired firefighter Tom Matousek was another of Conrad's mentors. "He guided me as a young firefighter in acknowledging and valuing the experience and knowledge of the firefighters that came before me," Conrad said. When Matousek was president of the union board, he spent time mentoring Conrad, who became union president after Matousek stepped down.

Conrad said he's looking forward to working with Chiappetta, who he calls "a man with a mission" and a person who is always willing to learn and listen. And, said Conrad, the fire department as a whole is a great place to be.

"The FPFD has some of the most amazing, hard-working, and fun-loving men and women between the firefighters and paramedics. We have been very lucky with the past and current members of our department. Forest Park is a small village where most people know each other and look out for each other. The village departments work well together and enjoy time together at work and out," Conrad said.

Conrad said he and his wife Kelly and their children Courtney and Danielle consider the firehouse family.

On Dec. 30, Mike Kinder was sworn in as a lieutenant, joining Mark Maylath and  Bobby "B.J." Reid who were promoted to the position in October.

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