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Forest Preserve District Staff Provide Helping Hand During April Floods

April’s flooding seemed as though it would never end, but Forest Preserve District staff members rose to the challenge. On May 7, the Forest Preserve District Board of Commissioners acknowledged several staff members for their extraordinary efforts to protect life and property during the flood.

When high water levels trapped many Des Plaines residents in their homes, Fisheries staff Steve Silic, Jim Phillips and Dan Fiorenza piloted boats to rescue residents from the flooding homes. The trio worked with the Des Plaines Fire and Police Departments in their response to 911 calls, systematically checking on residents up and down the flooded streets. Silic, Phillips and Fiorenza were on duty 30 hours straight.

The Forest Preserve District police also took action during the flood. While officers Roberto Gonzalez and Bruce Lind were assisting in evacuating flood victims, they received an emergency call and rushed to the Des Plaines River in Northwestern Woods, where a capsized kayaker was hanging from a tree branch in the frigid river to keep from drowning. Officers Gonzalez and Lind maneuvered their watercraft through the swift current, pulled the man into the safety of their boat and returned him to the shore for emergency medical care.

Along Salt Creek, the Resource Management and Landscape Maintenance Department worked just as hard to save Forest Preserve property. Spending more than 14 hours stacking sandbags around the area, they prevented floodwater from damaging valuable equipment in the Salt Creek Resource Management Headquarters and the Resident Watchman’s house.

Congratulations to the following Forest Preserve District staff:

  • Fisheries: Steve Silic, Jim Phillips, Dan Fiorenza
  • Resource Crew:  Kevin Neary, Ken Evans, Dara Leitza, Lindsay Ivanyi, Matt Hokanson, Matt Skoflanc, Tom Longo, James Van Sommeren, Mary Love
  • Trail Crew North: Bill Ransom and Joe Hansen
  • Landscape Maintenance: Kevin Mason and Guiseppi “Joe” Bonanno