BELVIDERE, Ill. (WTVO) — After serving the citizens of Belvidere for 27 years as a firefighter, Fire Chief Al Hyser is hanging up his hose.

The fire department held a party in honor of the Chief’s retirement as a way of thanking Hyser for his service to the city as a firefighter, lieutenant, captain and fire chief. Hyser said that, next to his family, his almost three decades with the department has been the most important thing in his life.

He said that he is most proud of the training his firefighters received and that other area departments ask them to help on scenes of large fires or incidents.

“We have one of the best fire departments in Northern Illinois and I’m so happy with what we’ve left, what we’ve been able to accomplish all together,” Hyser said. “I’m looking forward to their next chapter and how much they’re going to progress and be one of the finest.”

Hyser said that he is not completely going away. He will stay involved in the Belvidere Community. Fire Captain Shawn Schadle will be Belvidere Fire’s next chief.