Lemont Fire Protection District Chief Carl Churulo is not one to sit idle. He was involved with the Romeville Fire Department for 25 years - 14 years as chief - before taking his current position as fire chief in Lemont. Churulo has become accustomed to arriving to work at 5:30 a.m. and putting in 11- to 12-hour days.
But when the busy fire chief retires from the Lemont Fire District Aug. 15, 2013, how will he fill his spare time? Traveling? Reading? Fishing?
Running for office, Churulo said. And he’s already out gathering signatures on petitions in his hometown of Romeoville – and counting on his fellow citizens to elect him to the Romeoville Village Board next spring.
“I’m not a politician, even though I’m running,” Churulo said. “I love Romeoville – and when people ask me where I’m moving when I retire, I tell them I’m not going anywhere.”
Churulo and his wife of 44 years, Phyllis, have called Romeoville home since 1976. Both grew up in Chicago and the couple began their life together in Cicero. In those days, Churulo worked at the Texaco refinery on New Avenue – and to the young couple, Romeoville seemed like a nice place to settle down and raise a family.
“We bought the second house we looked at in Romeoville,” Churulo said. “And Romeoville has been home ever since; in fact, we’re in our third home there. But now that the kids are grown, we have a ranch house with five bedrooms and only two people,” he said with a laugh.
But, Churulo said, the extra bedrooms come in handy when the grandkids come to visit - which they often do.
“We have three kids, nine grandkids and one great-grandchild,” he said. “And my wife is like the grandmother of the year. She is just a super person – and she has fixed up the rooms for when the kids come to stay.”
Over the years, the couple has been active in the Romeoville community, with Phyllis serving on the fire department’s ladies auxiliary for three decades and the village’s beautification committee for about 15 years. And for nearly three years, Carl has been serving on the village’s planning and zoning commission.
“I’m a very active person,” Carl said. “And I want to make sure things keep moving forward in Romeoville. Some people say Route 53 is like a ghost town. There is a lot less business there than there used to be – and we have a lot of people who live in that part of town who would like to shop there. But to go shopping in Romeoville, people who live on the East side of town have to go out to Weber Road. I’d like to help change that.”
Churulo said that although he appreciates the landscaped islands the village has recently installed in the Route 53 corridor, he feels there is much more to be done.
“I have a lot of ideas about how we can move forward,” Churulo said. “I’m running as an independent – and I hope to bring credibility to the position; to be the voice of reason. I’m not perfect – but I have ideas about going in another direction.
"If you’re going to complain – then you should do something about it. That’s what I want to do.”
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