A 26-year veteran of the Kankakee Fire Department has been named the department’s new chief. Damon Schuldt had served as interim-chief since April, when interim-chief Phil Perkins retired.
The city hadn’t had a chief for the 47-member department since the retirement of Ron Young last November.
Schuldt took his oath of office, administered by State Senator Toi Hutchinson.
Schuldt was the choice of Mayor Chasity Wells-Armstrong. The city council approved his appointment on a 13-1 vote. The lone No vote was Alderman Tyler Tall Sr.
Schuldt addressed the City Council saying "We are going in a new direction. It's a new day. I am certainly looking forward to what we have to do."
"He is an outstanding individual," Wells-Armstrong said. "He has over 20 years of fire service. I can work with him. I am comfortable with him. I trust him. The department trusts him. He is committed to training. He is committed to community engagement — the things I think are important for moving us forward."
"It's not always easy being married to a firefighter," Schuldt said. "You work 24-hour shifts. You're gone a lot. You miss a lot of family events, but my family has always been behind me. I really appreciate that."
He praised his department saying, “you guys have one of the best fire departments in the state of Illinois and probably the nation. I would stack them up against anybody for their courage, their dedication, the hourly training they put in and the customer service they provide."