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In Memory of…

In Memory of… 2016-12-16T16:49:50+00:00
Firefighter Jerome Srejma
Served 1975-1981

Died in the line of duty October 26th, 1981
Young, energetic and talented. All these words could be used to describe Jerry Srejma.

Jerry, age 26, a young single man still living at home with his parents, joined the Pleasantview Fire District in 1975. Inspired by his Uncle Bill, a Chicago Firefighter, Jerry’s original intent was to become a firefighter, but as time progressed he found the desire to become a paramedic. A computer programmer by profession, his dedication to the Community and his love of volunteering were well known. A devoted member of the Fire District, he was described as quiet and reserved by his fellow members.

In the early morning of October 26th, 1981, while doing the job he loved for the last 6 years, he became the first of two in the line of duty deaths the Fire District would suffer that day – the first ever in the history of the Fire District. While fighting a fire in a commercial building in the City of Countryside, the lives of Jerry Srejma and Gary Michalek were taken from their families, Fire District, and Community when the roof of the building collapsed trapping both men.

Their spirit is remembered and honored today in memorials at the National Firefighter Memorial in Emmetsburg, Maryland, the Illinois Firefighters Memorial in Springfield, Illinois, a Countryside Park named in their honor, in scholarships named in his honor from the Illinois Fire Chief’s Educational Foundation and the Pleasantview Firefighters Association, and in this Memorial dedicated to their memory.

May he rest in peace.

Died in the line of duty October 26th, 1981
Served 1980 – 1981

Gary Michalek, age 21, a young single man still living at home with his parents, joined the Pleasantview Fire District in 1980.  An employee of United Parcel Service (UPS), Gary desired to follow in the foot steps of other family members who were in the Fire Service.  Described as “good natured and athletic” by his fellow Firefighters, he was also known for his ability to fix things.

He had served with the department less then 1 year when, in the early morning of October 26th, 1981, he became the second of two in the line of duty deaths the Fire District would suffer that day – the first ever in the history of the Fire District.  While fighting a fire in a commercial building in the City of Countryside, the lives of Gary Michalek and Jerry Srejma were taken from their families, Fire District, and Community when the roof of the building collapsed trapping both men.

Their spirit is remembered and honored today in memorials at the National Firefighter Memorial in Emmetsburg, Maryland, the Illinois Firefighters Memorial in Springfield, Illinois, a Countryside Park named in their honor, in scholarships named in his honor from the Illinois Fire Chief’s Educational Foundation and the Pleasantview Firefighters Association, and in this Memorial dedicated to their memory.

May he rest in peace.

Died in the line of duty December 6th, 1989
Served 1984 – 1989

Joseph Samec, age 28, joined the Fire District as a full time Firefighter in 1984.  Pleasantview was his first full time position in the Fire Service.  Married in 1987 to his wife Jami, he was known as extremely devoted to his family, the fire service, and his fellow workers.  During the course of his career at Pleasantview he accumulated an impressive number of awards including a Medal of Valor for life saving efforts during a residential fire and Firefighter of the Year in 1988.  His emphasis on education led to scholarships on multiple occasions from the Illinois Fire Chief’s Educational Foundation.  He earned the rank of Lieutenant in May of 1989.

In the late afternoon of December 6th, 1989, firefighters were called to a fire in a residence under renovation in Burr Ridge, Illinois.  Lt. Samec and his dedicated crew were the first to enter the building to investigate the fire.  Upon discovering the fire was in the basement area, he ordered his crew to leave the building.  In a style typical of Joe, he was the last to leave the building, behind his crew members.  It was at that time just before Lt. Samec left the building that the floor collapsed below him, trapping him in the basement.

His spirit is remembered and honored today in memorials at the National Firefighter Memorial in Emmetsburg, Maryland, the Illinois Firefighters Memorial in Springfield, Illinois, the Training Center at Headquarters for the Pleasantview Fire District, scholarships named in his honor from the Illinois Fire Chief’s Educational Foundation and the Pleasantview Firefighters Association, and in this Memorial dedicated to his memory.

May he rest in peace.

Active Duty Member / Non-Line of Duty

  • CAPT Tod Cervenka
  • FF Michael Kossak
  • POC FF Richard Pisone
  • Chaplain Robert Rounce
  • POC FF Dale Schmidt
  • POC FF Kenneth Kaminski
  • Commissioner Lawrence Wierema, Sr
  • POC FF Lawrence Wierema, Jr
  • Commissioner James Ballenger
  • Telecommunicator Mary Mendoza
  • Fire Prevention Administrative Assistant Jo Sheryl Kierulf
  • POC Asst Chief Elmer “Fuzzy” Mueller
  • Trustee Jack Roche