Ron Creek, former Eagle Rock-Golden-Mano (ERGM) fire chief, passed away on May 25. Creek can be credited with promoting Barry County's 911 system and increasing fire district membership and services in the Eagle Rock area.
"Ron was very well educated in fire service," said Bob Lombard, Wheaton fire chief and former Barry County E-911 Emergency Services Board member. "He was always willing to help other departments, and he was a big help in getting the 911 system for Barry County. I am going to miss him."
Creek began his fire service career at a department outside Chicago, Ill., in 1966. Within a year, he was offered a a full-time firefighter position with the Carpentersville Countryside Fire District in Carpentersville, Ill.
Creek worked for the district for 12 and a half years. During that time, he became a certified paramedic.
After leaving Illinois, Creek accepted a position with the Harvey Volunteer Fire Department near New Orleans, La. He worked for that department for 12 years.
Creek later returned to Carpentersville for five more years as the district's fire chief.
In 1997, Creek and his wife, Carol, moved to Eagle Rock. Creek joined the ERGM Fire District as a volunteer, and when the fire chief quit unexpectantly, Creek was asked to serve as interim fire chief. He served in that position for 13 years.
In December of 2010, Creek retired from his position with the ERGM Fire District.
Under Creek's leadership, the ERGM Fire District was able to add a fire rescue unit, two tankers, one engine and three medical units. Creek also helped the district make improvements that lowered the ISO rating from a nine to an eight within the district.
"He made this fire district what it is today," said Steve Gash, who began serving as the ERGM fire chief last year. "When he came, all of the equipment was outdated and he brought everything up to date.
"He also brought a lot of experience," said Gash. "He was a real good friend to everybody on the fire district. He was a great leader. He left big shoes to fill."
Creek was also very active in the Barry County Fire Chief Association.
"I think a fire department is the best organization anyone can belong to," Creek said after announcing his retirement last year. "Civic organizations are fine, but the people you meet at a volunteer fire department are special. Who will come and lay their life on the line for someone else? That takes a special kind of person."