Eric Boness

Deputy Chief Eric Boness is retiring from the Kankakee Fire Department after 30 years of service with the City of Kankakee.

KANKAKEE — Kankakee Fire Department Deputy Chief Eric Boness will retire from the city fire force in mid-January.

Boness will conclude his 30-year career on Jan. 16. He has been a member of the city force since December 1990.

A 1986 graduate of Central High School, Boness took his new role of deputy chief on Feb. 1, 2020, when he replaced former Deputy Chief Jeff Bruno, who had retired.

A captain with the force, Boness had also previously served as the department’s EMS coordinator, training officer and shift commander.

Fire Chief Damon Schuldt said the department will not fill the deputy chief position this budget year, which concludes April 30. He was unsure when the position would be filled.

When Boness officially leaves the department, it will have 47 sworn firefighters.

Schuldt noted Boness has devoted the past 30 years of his life to the department and to the area’s fire service.

Along the way, Boness helped create the county’s Haz-Mat Team and lead that unit for many years. He also noted during his time as training officer, he developed the driver training program and officer training program, which included the Blue Card Incident Command System, which is now used by all Kankakee County fire departments.

“We thank DC Boness for his commitment to the city, to the fire department and to the fire service,” Schuldt said.

Boness said he was lucky. He was able to do what he loved, and he loved what he did.

“When you do that, you never work a day in your life. I love getting up and going to work every day, and I will miss the people tremendously,” he said. “The fire department has been a blessing to me. I’ve been able to help many people throughout my career.

“I hope I’ve made a positive impact to the people I work with and the citizens of Kankakee,” he said.

Mayor Chasity Wells-Armstrong congratulated the deputy chief.

“Anyone who knows him, knows he lived and breathed the fire service. He was extremely dedicated to the department and leaves behind a legacy of professionalism, commitment to life-long learning and leadership,” she said.