ST. CHARLES – Newly retired St. Charles Fire Chief Joe Schelstreet was honored at the Oct. 7 St. Charles City Council meeting for his many years of service to the city.
After being with the department for more than 30 years, Schelstreet retired on Oct. 4. Schelstreet served as acting fire chief in 2012 before stepping into the chief role permanently in 2013.
"For the last six years, I don't think there's any question what an outstanding job he has done, not only for the men and women in uniform standing in this room tonight, but for all of our residents who end up seeing the St. Charles Fire Department and all of our first responders on some of the worst days of their lives," said State Sen. Don DeWitte, R-St. Charles.
Prior to being elected to the state legislature, DeWitte had served as St. Charles mayor. In 2013, he recommended to the City Council that Schelstreet be appointed fire chief.
DeWitte presented two proclamations honoring Schelstreet – one from the Illinois Senate and the other from the state of Illinois.
"Joe, I always knew you were up to the task," DeWitte said, in addressing Schelstreet. "It really was my honor to make you chief and I wish you all the best in retirement."
St. Charles Mayor Ray Rogina read Schelstreet a letter expressing the city's appreciation for his efforts over the years.
"Joe, it's somewhat melancholy that we say goodbye," Rogina said towards the end of the letter. "May you have a rich and rewarding retirement, because a gentleman like you sir, deserves nothing but the best."
Being a fourth-generation St. Charles resident, Schelstreet has deep roots in the community. His dad served on the department from 1958 to 1978.
Schelstreet, in turn, thanked the fire department and city officials for the trust they placed in him.
"I leave you as a grateful fire chief, resident and student," he said. "There is such a bright future here in our exceptional St. Charles."
Assistant Fire Chief Scott Swanson has been named acting fire chief. Swanson joined the St. Charles Fire Department full-time in 1988. He was promoted to lieutenant in 1992, captain in 2003, battalion chief in 2009 and assistant fire chief in 2013.
Swanson also previously served as acting fire chief in 2007, during the transition between previous fire chiefs.