After he was sworn in as fire battalion chief, Jason Yerkovich shakes hands with Bridgeview Mayor Steve Landek. (Photo by Steve Metsch)

After he was sworn in as fire battalion chief, Jason Yerkovich shakes hands with Bridgeview Mayor Steve Landek. (Photo by Steve Metsch)

New Bridgeview battalion chief credits crew

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By Steve Metsch

Jason Yerkovich, who has spent 15 years working for the Bridgeview Fire Department, may have a new job title but is giving credit where he says it is due.

At the March 20 village board meeting, Yerkovich was promoted to battalion chief. He had been a lieutenant.

“I told my crew (that) my personal belief is I don’t think promotions are about an individual. It’s a culmination of all the love and support,” Yerkovich, 42, of Elburn, said.

That started with his family, his parents and all the firefighters he worked with and learned from through the years, he said.

“They taught me everything. I’m just a little piece in that big picture. I’m very humbled by it,” Yerkovich said after he posed for photos with friends, family and coworkers.

Looking back, Yerkovich said that playing linebacker for the Northern Michigan University football team had a big impact on his life.

“I only was there for one year. But with that – and I tell my guys all the time – we’re a team. I didn’t grow up with the fire service but when I changed careers when I was 28, I wanted to find something that was about serving and helping people,” said Yerkovich, who transferred to and graduated from Illinois State University.

Before he joined the Bridgeview Fire Department, he was an art director for a magazine. The eagle artwork at the village hall was painted by Yerkovich his probationary year, he said.

“Big switch,” he said of his career change.

“It was all about finding something where I could find that team aspect,” he said.

Being a firefighter is “about residents, the village. … It’s about serving people” he said.

“When I clock out of here, I know it sounds corny, but I serve my wife, my family,” Yerkovich said.

In a related move, the board approved hiring Dylan Siroky as a firefighter/paramedic.

Siroky, 30, had been working part-time for the Glenwood Fire Department.

“I wanted to further my career. It’s a contract department, nothing wrong with that, but getting to a full-time department is the goal, room for advancing,” the Midlothian resident said.

Like Yerkovich, Siroky said he chose a career in firefighting because he enjoys helping people.

“It’s a cliché, but it’s really meaningful when you’re there on someone’s worst day. They look to you for comfort and being able to help them in their need,” he said.

“It’s a rewarding job. It really is. I mean you have your bad days and your good days, your bad calls and your good calls. But the good calls always outweigh the bad,” Siroky added.

His first day on the job will be April 1.

The board is already looking ahead to next winter. It approved buying 1,000 tons of rock salt for the 2024-25 winter.

“Nice. Getting ready for snow already. Very nice,” Mayor Steve Landek quipped.

During the relatively mild 2023-24 winter, Bridgeview has used only 800 of 1,000 available tons of rock salt on roads, Trustee Gary Lewis said.

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