Rich Tobiasz is currently involved in two careers—fire chief of the Spring Grove Fire Protection District and organic vegetable and fruit production on his Spring Grove farm. He’s passionate about both, and he’s been heavily involved in educating students at MCC in both subject areas.
Rich’s formal education in his first career include a Bachelor of Science Degree in Fire Science from Southern Illinois University and an AAS Degree in Registered Nursing from College of Lake County. He also has taken several courses in Fire Science Officer Certification at McHenry County College. At MCC, Rich has been an adjunct instructor for fire science/EMS since the early 1980s, including serving as Chair of the EMS Department.
Rich has spent the last 42 years in fire service—over 23 of those as Fire Chief. His dedication to the field includes 40 years as a paramedic and 28 years as a Registered Nurse, including Chief Flight Nurse at Flight for Life. Rich has also served as President if the McHenry County Fire Chief’s Association, EMS Coordinator for the McHenry Western Lake County EMS System, and as a board member of the National Flight Nurse Association. He is also a contributing author to three flight nursing text books.
Rich’s second career is in horticulture and a fruit and vegetable farm in Spring Grove. He obtained a M.S. Degree in Crop Science from the University of Illinois and wrote the current chapter on Organic Gardening for the University of Illinois Master Gardener Training Manual. For the past 13 years, Rich has shared his knowledge and passion for growing plants as a volunteer University of Illinois Master Gardener for McHenry County. This has included volunteer activities and projects in the community, coordinating a state conference
Rich’s other community activities have included coaching junior football, serving in the Board of Directors and Head Umpire for Grant Township Little League, and he’s an IHSA Official in basketball, football, baseball, and girls softball.