When Commander Stan Grygiel was 6 years old, he lived a few houses away from a firehouse in Chicago. Like most children, he loved visiting and talking with the firefighters there, which led eventually to a lifelong career at the Norwood Park Fire Protection District. We now wish him well in retirement after over 35 years as a career firefighter, Inspector, Investigator, and Officer.

Commander Grygiel began his career in Norwood Park in 1979, being offered a job as a Paramedic, which was at the time a civilian and relatively new field in the fire service. “I thought about firefighting in a sense of more than just fighting fires,” he told a newspaper once. “Specifically, I liked the idea of being a paramedic and being cross trained.” He was sworn in as a full time member of the Fire Protection District in May of 1983, and trained as a Fire Inspector for the district, a position he worked in almost exclusively for almost two decades. Within that time, he polished his skills and added to them, responding to major events within the fire protection district such as the Apartment Building explosion in Harwood Heights (which he was interviewed about in a nationally distributed Fire Service training series called Working Fire), the Maurice Lenell Cookie Factory fire, and several others.

As an Inspector he was responsible for organizing the department records on building fire occupancies and annual inspections as well as responding as a trained fire investigator with the state of Illinois. It was in this latter role he was able to contribute to the successful conviction of an arsonist and prevent future tragedies.

As a member of the Firefighters Association he served as secretary as well as other positions, and later as a proud member of the IAFF Local in the district, his final service to the firefighters he worked with was to work with the Board of Trustees to change an ordinance to permit firefighters to work for the district longer if they wished, an option he elected to not take after working to have it passed for his fellow firefighters.



Promoted to Lieutenant in 1996, and then Commander shortly after the new millennium, he took charge of red shift for the remainder of his career. He will be remembered with distinction, and we thank him for his contributions to the villages within our district, the community, and his fire department, and we will proudly share stories of his time with us for years to come.

Congratulations, Commander Stan Grygiel, and Thank You!