Chicago Hounds pictured with Bridgeview Firefighters.

The Chicago Hounds visited Village Hall to thank the Bridgeview Fire Department and Bridgeview Police Department for their work in honor of the Police & Fire appreciation week observed May 12th through May 18th. At the Fire Department, Chief Keith Grzadziel, Battalion Chief Jason Yerkovich, and other firefighters detailed what it takes to become a firefighter and gave the Hounds players a tour of the Department.

Chief Grzadziel explained that the Bridgeview firefighters of each shift eat, sleep, and work together much like a family and that handling emergencies requires effective communication and cooperation just playing pro rugby does. The Hounds listened intently as Bridgeview firefighters detailed the history of firefighters’ poles on the second floor. The Bridgeview Fire Department is one of the few departments that still uses the poles to quickly get to their gear and vehicles rather than risk tripping down the stairs. After the firefighters finished detailing the important process, they demonstrated how to properly use the fire poles. The Hounds then followed the example and slid safely down the poles to arrive back in the garage on the first floor. 

It was the Hounds’ turn to teach the firefighters, and they began showing the firefighters how to properly throw and catch the rugby ball. Players even hoisted a firefighter into the air for a catch just as they do in a game, demonstrating that what seems like a simple maneuver requires immense trust and skill. 

With their rugby training complete, the firefighters got out their special equipment. The Hounds jumped at the chance to hold powerful tools and wear the protective gear, which they admitted was heavy even for them; a fully equipped firefighter could be carrying up to 120 pounds. Chief Grzadziel told the athletes they might have a chance as firefighters when they’re done playing pro rugby. 

To thank them for all they do for the Village, the Chicago Hounds gave free tickets to the Bridgeview Police and Fire Departments for the “public servant” themed Hounds game on Sunday, May 26th.