CRYSTAL LAKE – James Moore made a promise to his wife nine years ago.
Aug. 1 will be the day he makes good on it.
Moore, the fire rescue chief for Crystal Lake since April 2005, told his wife then that in exchange for letting him move the family from Naperville to chase his dream, he would make sure the two could spend time with each other while they could still enjoy it.
With one son graduating high school and another finishing college, Moore said it was the right time to end one dream and start another.
"It was a tremendous experience. I was blessed to work with a great group of people that wanted to develop and advance the organization," Moore said of his time as chief. "It was better than anything I could have expected."
Moore started in the fire service in 1981 and spent 20 years with the Naperville Fire Department where he rose through the ranks from firefighter/paramedic to district fire chief before coming to Crystal Lake.
No single call to a scene to or department improvement stands out to Moore, but he was proud of the progress his staff and firefighters made with the creation of a fire prevention bureau and strategic plan.
"There were so many positive things that went on from training to development," Moore said. "We really enhanced and improved our resources."
Taking over for Moore will be longtime Crystal Lake firefighter Paul DeRaedt, who has served as Moore's deputy chief for the past eight years. DeRaedt has advanced through the ranks since starting as a firefighter/paramedic in the department in 1991.
City manager Gary Mayerhofer, who appointed DeRaedt to step into the role on Aug. 1, said he is confident the progress the department made under Moore will continue with DeRaedt.
"I am confident that Chief DeRaedt will continue to make certain that the fire rescue department provides the highest level of professional service to the community, ensuring that Crystal Lake continues to be a great place to live," Mayerhofer said in a release.
Though Moore is leaving the fire department, he said there are no plans to leave the community he has loved.
"I plan on being a Crystal Lake resident," Moore said. "The residents here and the businesses here; I couldn't ask for anything better. I love the whole community."