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John Winters

Silvis Fire Department, Fire Chief

In April, the Silvis City Council unanimously approved Local 25 member Lt. John Winters as interim chief of the Silvis Fire Department. John, an 11-year union member and 13-year veteran with the fire department, will officially take over when current fire chief Dave Leibovitz retires on June 1.

John Winters LU25 Fireman

“It’s because of the fire department that I ended up in the Local,” he said. “There was a guy who got on at the fire department that was a Local 25 member, and that’s how I got started in the Local.”

According to John, becoming a certified plumber while serving as an on-call firefighter kept his schedule full.

“It was strange, because I was working during the day, going to school at night and working the fire department on weekends,” he said. “Plus, I volunteered for the Andalusia Volunteer Ambulance and Geneseo Ambulance service. I was putting in 70-80 hours there for a while.”

With that much time invested in both organizations on a daily basis, John has developed strong bonds of brotherhood — something that will continue even as his new full-time career begins at the fire department.

“At the Local, they’ve always got your back — and we have that at the fire station, too — but it’s really the individual people that I’ll miss,” John said. “I will still be an active member and keep all my licenses up. I just won’t be working.”