Kankakee, IL – Fire Deputy Chief, Jeff Bruno, has retired from the Kankakee Fire Department.
“It has been my honor to serve the citizens of Kankakee for almost 29 years, and I will miss my fellow co-workers and the ability to help others in their time of need”, said Deputy Chief Bruno.
Bruno was born and raised in the city of Kankakee, attending St. Patrick’s Grade School and graduated from Bishop McNamara in 1984. Bruno then joined the Army, spending 3 years in active duty and 3 years in the reserves. After the military, he married his high school sweetheart, Trina. Deputy Chief Bruno said the fire service was a family affair. Bruno’s father-in-law, brother-in-law and brother all worked for the Kankakee Fire Department before he was hired by the city of Kankakee in 1990.
“I went through the rank, becoming a paramedic, which I still hold as of today. I Became a FFIII, Apparatus Engineer and Ice Rescue Specialist. In 1996, while visiting the Brookfield Zoo, my brother-in-law, Bill Lambert, fellow co-worker, Pete Zerites, and myself were involved in the now historic rescue of a small child that fell into the gorilla pit,” said Deputy Chief Bruno.
Following the rescue, Bruno was awarded the department’s Meritorious Service Award which was featured on national news networks amongst various other recognitions and several awards throughout his years of service. This includes Co-Firefighter of the year and the Sons of Italy Leonardo DaVinci Award for Community Service.
Deputy Chief Bruno achieved Fire Officer I & II, and in 2009 was promoted to Lieutenant. In 2015, Bruno was promoted to Captain. In 2018, Bruno was promoted to Interim Assistant Chief, and later that year was promoted as the department’s first Deputy Chief.
“Deputy Chief Bruno had a long and distinguished career serving the residents and the public. I am proud to have worked with him. He is an asset to this department and to the fire service. Jeff has done an excellent job throughout his time in the fire service. His accomplishments are numerous. I wish him and his family well in the future,” said Chief Damon Schuldt.
Deputy Chief Bruno was appointed to serve on the states Medal of Honor Committee, which he is still an active member today. He has built relationships throughout the community, coaching soccer and baseball while his children grew up, as well as, serving 8 years on the Kankakee School District’s Board of Education.
“I appreciate Deputy Chief Bruno’s service to the community and the department. He was instrumental in helping us to solidify a leadership team and has had an impressive career as an ambassador for the fire service. I wish him well in his retirement,” said Mayor Wells Armstrong. Deputy Chief Bruno’s wrapped up his career today, on August 30, 2019.
“This profession has a lot to offer, and I am proud of the accomplishments we have made as a department over the last 18 months as Deputy Chief. I can hold my head up high, knowing I’m leaving this position, better than I found it,” said Deputy Chief Bruno.