Chief Don Shoevlin joined the department on December 15, 2001. He was promoted to Lieutenant on February 21, 2004, then Captain on September 12, 2004, and became the department’s eighth fire chief on January 1, 2008. He currently holds state certifications as Fire Fighter II and Fire Fighter III, Fire Officer I, II, and III, Tech Rescue, Hazmat Materials, and Fire Service Vehicle Operator. He is also an EMT-A. He is a member of the Winnebago Fire Chief’s Association, a board member with the Illinois Fire Chief’s Association, a member of the International Fire Chief’s Association, and has been appointed to the Winnebago County 911 Board. He is also a current board member to the Roscoe Chamber of Commerce and an active community member.
Chief Shoevlin began his firefighting career in 1980 with the Cary Fire Protection District. He and his family were local business owners and he was recruited by other business men to run volunteer calls in that growing community. His desire and dedication to help others was what led him to pursue being a volunteer firefighter. He earned the rank of Captain, became a paramedic, formed and coordinated the Hazmat team, taught classes to new recruits, over saw the many PR events held for the community, put together their first ever live training disaster event, and acquired many certificates of additional classes prior to relocating to Roscoe in 1991.
After the September 11, 2001, catastrophe, Chief Shoevlin’s desire to help others became a reality again. While owning a local shop in Roscoe, he became one of the oldest students to take the Harlem-Roscoe recruit class in 2001. As Captain, he helped to oversee the construction of the training tower facility and the remodeling of Station Three. He was instrumental in the revamping of the training division.
As Chief, he made advanced training while maintaining their basic skills a high priority goal for all his firefighters, and he promoted safety awareness throughout the fire district community. It became a requirement that all fire personnel who joined the department must become an EMT-B and obtain their State Basic Firefighter certificate. He improved and updated the department’s organizational chart, policies, procedures, and guidelines for all personnel to keep up with the ever-changing federal, state, and local regulations and codes. Due to the continuous change in technology and to continue to meet the requirements and needs, he reorganized the dispatch center. He was instrumental in the hiring of a full-time Deputy Chief and Fire Prevention Officer. In 2013, he created a new Engineer position. He expanded the EMS program which required that all EMS be cross-trained as firefighters. The district now operates with a minimum of six EMS personnel on duty 24/7 to meet the increased request for service. He was instrumental in the research for and then oversaw the major remodel/addition project to Station One in 2013-14.
Chief Shoevlin was the first recipient of the Harlem-Roscoe Fire Good Service Award in 2004 and was the VFW Firefighter of The Year Award recipient in 2007. He felt honored in 2010 when his son, Stephen, joined the fire department to follow his father’s passion.
He realizes that the foundation of this district was built by those who served before him and continues to be strong because of the continuous support of all the citizens of the district. He believes the success of the Harlem-Roscoe Fire Protection District is because of all the members with their outstanding dedication and commitment to what and who we are. He always tells the fire personnel, “We are who we are because of you!”