FROM THE OFFICE OF THE FIRE CHIEF
As many of you are aware, Chief Walters has been eyeballing retirement for quite some time now. Well, folks…that time has finally come. As of 7am on February 1st, Chief Gregory Walters will be retiring as the Fire Chief of the Peoria Heights Fire Department. While he has only been our fire chief for the past 8 years, he has assisted the Peoria Heights Fire Department in many capacities since 1988, both on his own time and as a representative of the Peoria Fire Department. Between his tenure with the Peoria Heights Fire Department and the Peoria Fire Department, Chief Walters has served just shy of 38 years in the fire service. Over that time, he has shaped and molded a countless number of firefighters through his exceptional knowledge, tactical ability, training ability, and leadership ability. While many of those people have gone on to seek full-time careers in the fire service, more still are right here at home, volunteering to do everything they can to help serve the citizens of our Village in any way possible. His dedication to the Village and its citizens is something that we believe any person should strive to imitate, and all of us certainly wish Chief Walters a very long, fulfilling, and happy retirement.
As for his replacement, we are happy to announce that Donovan “Van” Thompson will be joining us as our new Fire Chief. Chief Thompson has worked in the fire service for 25 years, serving from the rank of firefighter all the way up to the rank of Fire Chief. Many of those years have been spent right here in Central Illinois working alongside many of the people still on the fire department today. Chief Thompson originally joined us in December of 2019 and quickly made his impact with a level of knowledge, skill, and dedication only to be rivaled by a select few. He also brings skill from the industrial side of firefighting, working with both ADM and Caterpillar as part of their industrial security and fire brigades.
Alongside Chief Thompson’s promotion, we would like to announce Assistant Chief Mike Woo’s promotion to Deputy Chief, filling the open spot left by Chief Hill after his retirement last July. Chief Woo has served with the Peoria Heights Fire Department for over 25 years, working in every capacity from Firefighter/EMT up to Deputy Chief. For those that may be unaware, the Deputy Chief position serves as the Fire Chief’s right hand man with many of the same responsibilities, including filling in for the Fire Chief during times when he may be unavailable. The Peoria Heights Fire Department is proud to have both of these men at the helm and looks forward to working with them over the coming years. With these two at the top and with the rest of the fire department staff behind them, the Village in certainly in excellent hands.