Mary Foszcz affixes the chief’s badge on her husband, Ken, who was named the new leader of the Town of Randall Fire Department at a Feb. 8 Town Board meeting (Jason Arndt/The Report).

Predecessor honored for years of leadership

By Jason Arndt

After more than two decades, the Town of Randall Fire Department is under new leadership, with the swearing in of Ken Foszcz as the new fire chief.

Foszcz, who replaces Matt Gronke, said his new role will be a challenge, considering Gronke’s tenure as chief of the department.

“I have some big shoes to fill with Matt,” Foszcz said during his introduction at the Feb. 8 Randall Town Board meeting. “He spent a lot of time and a lot of years on this department and he stayed on the committee until I got my feet situated.”

For Gronke, he plans to continue with the department as one of two battalion chiefs, according to Town Chairman Robert Stoll.

Stoll, who presented him with a plaque for his years of service, said Gronke showed dedication to the community through his 22 years as chief.

“He probably made about 85 percent of the calls, consistently, throughout the years,” Stoll said after the meeting. “He is always available and he had a very good run.”

Gronke’s successor was decided on a vote of fire department membership, which tabs two battalion chiefs, a secretary and a treasurer every two years.

The battalion chiefs are assigned to the Bassett and Powers Lake stations.

According to Stoll, Gronke wanted to make sure a strong successor was in place before he decided.

Foszcz, meanwhile, touts experience with three different fire departments, including the Town of Randall.

Before Foszcz arrived the Town of Randall about 10 years ago, he served at two Illinois departments, including Richmond where he held the role of fire chief.

“Ken brings with him some experience as a previous fire chief in Richmond and as a career firefighter in the Round Lake district,” said Stoll.

Foszcz, in his 10 years with the Town of Randall, served as both battalion chief and training chief.

During his swearing-in ceremony, which brought several members of his family, he received his chief’s badge from wife, Mary, who affixed it on the left side of his chest.

Stoll, who serves as captain of the department, said Gronke was resilient throughout his tenure as fire chief.

“It is a long time for a chief,” Stoll said. “It is a very demanding job.”


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