Retired Galesburg firefighters revisit old friends for fire hydrant maintenance

Local News

Retired Galesburg firefighter Mike Whitson cleans a city fire hydrant on Liberty Street

You can take the retiree out of firefighting, but you can’t take the firefighter out of the retiree.

In recognition of Fire Prevention Week, members of the Galesburg Retired Firefighters Association (GRFA) have been washing and painting fire hydrants in the southwest part of Galesburg. Usually assigned to temporary summer employees, a reduction in the summer workforce allowed GRFA members to step in to assist with the important maintenance of the city’s most visible water supply element.

Retired Galesburg Fire Chief John Cratty and Fire Chaplain Glen Bocox paint a fire hydrant on West South Street during Fire Prevention Week

“It’s nice to get out with old friends, help out the great folks at the water department and do some good for the city that gave most of us our livelihood,” GRFA President Mike Whitson said. “The hydrants seem to turn a little harder in retirement, and we banter about the time we used a hydrant at a fire here and there. We’re glad to help.”

“The City of Galesburg is thankful for all of the volunteers within the community,” City Manager Todd Thompson said. “We’re proud of our retired firefighters stepping up to fill this need and are cognizant of the community events, beautification and camaraderie that wouldn’t be possible without the many involved volunteer groups throughout our community.”

The periodic painting makes for increased service life, improves hydrant visibility for fire response and allows for a better town image. The retired firefighters will continue washing and painting hydrants until the weather drops below 50 degrees.

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