ROSEWOOD HEIGHTS - The Webster's Dictionary could define passion, selflessness and public service with two small words - Tim Bunt.
Monday night in the Rosewood Heights Fire Protection District, firefighters, wives, children and families gathered together in the living room of the firehouse as an icon for the department stepped down as Chief. Tim Bunt is now being replaced by Chief Corey Williams as honored leader of the volunteer fire department. Bunt will remain with Rosewood Heights Fire Department as a firefighter and as a member of the Board of Trustees. He will also continue as Chief of the Wieland Group Fire Department.
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Tim Bunt has known nothing but firefighting since he was a young boy, but he says his love as a child for firefighting is still with him today.
His father, Don Bunt, Sr. served 50 years with the Rosewood Heights Fire Department (one of only three men that have earned 50+ years since inception.) Don, Sr. retired from the department in his early 90’s.
Tim's two brothers Don Bunt, Jr and Dan Bunt also volunteered with the fire department while working full-time jobs as Captain of the Madison County Sheriff’s Office and Assistant Chief of the Woodriver Police Department.
At one point, all four Bunt men served with the Rosewood Heights Fire Protection District simultaneously.
As a young child, Tim would listen for the firetruck sirens while sitting in his elementary classroom. On one occasion, knowing that his father was manning one of the trucks, Tim ran out of his 3rd grade classroom at Rosewood Grade School as the sirens whizzed by to chase a truck to a nearby fire. Needless to say, his teacher was not pleased with his behavior, but fire service ran deep in his veins. He formally joined the Rosewood Heights Department at 18 years old. He is now 60.
"Tim lives and breathes the Rosewood Heights community," shared the new Department Chief, Corey Williams, "You'll not find a man more dedicated to serve."
Chief Williams has some big shoes to fill, but Tim says he knows he's ready. "I was not stepping down until I knew Corey was ready and willing to take the lead. I have high expectations for the new Chief (Corey Williams), but I know that he is well-prepared, devoted and ready for the job. I couldn’t ask for a better group of firefighters than what we have. They are all well-trained and dedicated and they make the job as chief a whole lot easier."
Volunteer service is demanding. It's getting up in the middle of the night after you've already worked a full-time job and sometimes going straight to your paying job the next morning without ever laying your head on a pillow. It's missed holidays with family, covering shifts for fellow firefighters, and falling into bed for the first time in 48 hours. It’s selfless, it's the epitome of public service and it requires a passion that is unsurpassed. Tim Bunt is definitely the dictionary definition for all three.
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