Deputy Chief Samuel S. Hunter will retire this month from the Evanston Fire Department after 33 years of service.

A graduate of Evanston Township High School, Hunter started with the department in 1976 as a firefighter. In 1979 he became a paramedic and was promoted to captain in 1980. He then became medical officer in 1984, division chief in 1987 and rose to the rank of deputy chief in 2008. His last day with the department will be Dec. 23.

“It is hard for me to imagine Evanston without first thinking of Sam Hunter and all the wonderful things he has done for the community,” said Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl. “He is a true Evanstonian who rose through the ranks to help protect this community in times of need, he was such an integral part of the Belize Sister City Program and he has always given me good advice when I have needed it. He will be missed and we hope he does not go far.”

Deputy Chief Hunter has served in various capacities including dive master, fleet manager, budget officer, 911 liaison, and facilities manager.

He has been involved in numerous projects over the course of his career including the construction of Fire Stations #1, #2 and #3, the fire department Explorer program, ETHS public safety program and the fire department recruitment process. He has received numerous recognitions and awards. In addition to his fire department duties, Hunter was also a member of the city’s accident review board, employee advisory committee, Evanston’s sister city program with Belize City and is in the Naval Reserves.

As the mayor’s liaison to the Belize program, he opened avenues of communication with the Belize City government, supplied them with needed information and hosted visits from city staff of Belize City to Evanston where they received training in many forms of public works.

He has gathered clothing, food, cars, fire trucks, parking meters, health supplies and other items to be donated to the sister city. Additionally, he has personally carried medical and other supplies to Belize City at his own expense, spearheaded Belize Day in the Park, initiated the “Miss Belize” appointment that provided for an exchange of visits to Belize City and arranged all activities that extended hospitality to the Mayor of Belize City when he visited Evanston.

“Deputy Chief Hunter retiring from the City of Evanston is a tremendous loss not only to his department but to the city as a whole,” said former Mayor Lorraine H. Morton. “We wish him well in his future endeavors.”

A retirement party recognizing his career and commitment to the Evanston community will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 16, in the Parasol Room at the Civic Center.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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