Thirty-five year veteran retires from Monona Fire Department

MONONA — Monona’s familiar fire siren has a new meaning to Todd Balekos this week. No longer is it the call for him to drop what he is doing, race to the fire station, climb on a bright red truck and head out to help others in need. Instead it means …

Balekos retired last week after 35 years of training, fighting fires and responding to rescues as a member of a department where his father once served as chief. The retirement officially came on March 1, his 59th birthday, an age that Monona Fire Department rules indicate is a time for younger men to take over.

“I would not have given it up,” he said. 

“The advantage we have here in Monona is that we have enough young guys interested in coming on the fire department and taking over,” he said. “We’ll step back and let those guys take over.”

Balekos said he even told Chief Dave Smith that if the department needed him to step down early to make room on the department for a younger person he would have been willing to do it.

Read more in the Wednesday, March 14, 2018 ediiton of The Outlook.