2019 Grand Marshal Chief Tobasz 


Rich grew up in Chicago, moving to Spring Grove with his parents in 1968. He joined the Fox Lake
Volunteer Fire Department in November 1974 and there became a certified Firefighter and a licensed
paramedic (1976). He left Fox Lake and joined the Spring Grove Fire Protection District as a
volunteer/paid-on-call Firefighter-Paramedic on April 1, 1982. Along the way he served as Lieutenant,
Captain, Assistant Chief and was named Chief on May 1, 1993. In November 1997 he became the first
Regular employee of the District, being Chief, Business Manager and Firefighter/Paramedic. The Board challenged him to come up with the plan to eventually staff the fire station with Firefighter/Paramedics and EMT-Bs on a 24/7 basis, a goal, among others, that he has accomplished with, as he credits them, the very dedicated staff at SGFPD. His fire service career has spanned almost 45 years, 26 of which have been served as Chief. During that time he served as President of the McHenry County Fire Chief’s Association and taught Fire Officer classes at McHenry County College.

Before his Regular employment with the SGFPD, Rich worked for Northern Illinois Medical
Center/Centegra (now Northwestern Medicine) as the Emergency Medical Services Coordinator. There he taught EMT and Paramedic classes. He also helped start the Flight for Life helicopter program and flew as one of the first medics. He became a Registered Nurse in 1988 and transitioned to an ER/Flight Nurse, also serving 3 years as Chief Flight Nurse. He contributed to 3 Flight Nursing Texts and was a member of the National Flight Nurse Association Board of directors.

Rich has a second passion, farming and gardening, some of which he credits to his Busia (pronounced
Busha-Polish for grandmother). He has volunteered for the University of Illinois Extension as a Master Gardener for the past 15 years and during that time obtained a Masters of Science in Crop Science from the University of Illinois. He likes to say that he was “traded for a future draft choice and 3 students to be named later” from Fire Science Adjunct Faculty at MCC, to the  Horticulture/Agriculture Department where he will continue to teach Intro to Plant Science and most of the Ag classes.

Rich will, as he often quotes Thomas Jefferson, “retire to his farm (Evergreen Oasis Farm, Spring Grove) to read Homer (but not in the original Greek)”. There Rich and his wife Wendy have a small fruit and vegetable farm where they raise crops and animals using sustainable organic methods. He also has a couple of non-fiction books in mind to write, one Ag related, one FD related…stay tuned…

DONATIONS published 5/2018

Our Fireworks show is paid for 100% by donations from local businesses and money collected on the 4th of July.  Parking fees, alcohol, and fees from food vendors collected on the 4th as well as donations by local businesses and families supports the $23,000 cost for our amazing show put on by Melrose Fireworks.  

Sometime in the early 1990's the parking fees were raised from $2 to $5, at that time we were lucky enough to have our own local pyrotechnics crew but for safety and licensing reasons we are no longer able to have our own crew and had to hire licensed professionals for our fireworks show. 

The cost of fireworks continues to rise and coupled with the fact that we have fewer and fewer volunteers helping our committee, it is unfortunate that we can no longer avoid raising the price of parking in our lots.

So for 2018 our parking fees will be raised from $5 to $8 in Horse Fair and Spring Grove lots.  Thelen Park's Premier Parking will remain $10 (and open all day), if you present your parking pass from earlier in the day from either Horse Fair or Spring Grove lots your entry into Thelen Park will only by an additional $2.

Please know that this was a decision we did not take lightly but that your parking fees and donations help us continue to provide a wonderful family event for our community.

If you would like to make a donation please visit our Donate page to donate through Paypal or you may mail a check to our address at PO Box 704 Spring Grove, IL 60081.

Thank you for donating and supporting the 4th event!





Find us: 

P.O. Box 704 Spring Grove, IL 60081


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