Joliet fire chiefs get award for COVID-19 pandemic

Joliet Township High School District’s Superintendent Medallion awarded to Blaskey and Carey

The Joliet Township High School District’s Superintendent Medallion has been given to the two Joliet fire chiefs who led a volunteer COVID-19 vaccination clinic.

The award was presented to Fire Chief Greg Blaskey and Deputy Chief Jeff Carey, two alumni of the school district, at the May school board meeting.

The vaccination clinic operated from Feb. 1 through Monday at the Joliet West High School field house, providing 60,000 vaccines with the help of 13,000 hours of volunteer service from firefighters, their family members and nurses.

“Access to the vaccine in a swift fashion at the beginning of February lessened the anxiety and allowed things to start moving in a good direction,” Superintendent Karla Guseman said in a statement announcing the award. “Staff and kids began coming back to school, and sports and activities resumed in-person. As both a superintendent and a mother of an 8th grader and a senior, I cannot thank Chief Blaskey and Deputy Chief Carey enough for their leadership and shared responsibility in helping our community in solving our COVID-19 vaccination problem.”

Guseman presented the award to Blaskey, a 1981 graduate from Joliet West High School, and Carey, a 1993 graduate from Joliet Central High School.

In a news release from the school district, Guseman described a Jan. 7 email she received from Carey telling her that the fire department was teaming up with AMITA Health Saint Joseph Medical Center and the Will County Health Department to speed up delivery of the vaccine.

“Within that email, Deputy Chief Carey shared that the fire department unions were volunteering to have their paramedics help with the process,” Guseman said. “He shared that they wanted to start with the school districts that serve the city of Joliet. We immediately jumped on board and offered West as a vaccination site.”

The Superintendent’s Medallion was established in 2006 and is presented to individuals or groups that distinguish themselves in service to the Joliet Township High School District.