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Firefighter/Paramedic Joe Spanier of the Park Forest Fire Department is the recipient of 2022 Firefighter of the Year Award. The annual award is given to someone who exemplifies the characteristics of a firefighter with an outstanding record of fire service achievements. Spanier, a seven-year veteran of the department, was formally recognized during an awards ceremony Sunday at Dining on the Green in the Village’s downtown.
Park Forest Fire Chief Tracy Natyshok credits Spanier with going above and beyond in 2022.
"Over the past year, Joe has taken on a large role within the maintenance department as well as heading up the new engine committee," Natyshok said.
"Joe consistently puts in extra hours whether maintaining equipment and apparatus, heading up repairs, transporting vehicles to different vendors, and overall making sure all apparatus is in working condition to the best of his ability."
Natyshok also praised Spanier for his work ethic and dedication. He said that regardless of Spanier being on or off the clock, he's always making himself available and is a team player who makes others better.
"Joe is always willing to come in on his off days to fix equipment or to get it to a vendor who can," Natyshok said. "He has consistently sacrificed his time with the betterment of the department as his main goal."
Natyshok said that the characteristics of a good firefighter are not restricted to simply heroic actions, but encompass all aspects of a productive, dedicated, and professional service at all levels. Spanier, a native of Grant Park, exemplified that most in 2022, Natyshok said.