ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — October is National Fire Prevention Month, and one local firefighter has a unique way of inspiring younger generations to take interest in a firefighting career.
For the past 18 years, Bo Chaney has served with the Rockford Fire Department. Today, Chaney is a recruiter, looking for the next group of first responders to protect the city.
Chaney has stepped into a new arena to encourage and educate young people in the profession — writing children’s books. “The Adventures of Rob and Rocky” tells the story of two brothers, named after Chaney’s own sons, discussing and exploring what they want to be when they grow up. Chaney also released a coloring book for “The Adventures of Rob and Rocky.”
The Rockford firefighter says he didn’t get exposure to the career when he was a a child, which inspired him to publish the books — with a little help from his boys.
“Everybody starts off with ‘cops and robbers’ or [playing] firefighters. And somewhere, somewhere along the lines they get disinterested in it,” said Chaney. “So just trying to figure out how to get them back, interested in those type of opportunities.”
Chaney said he was skeptical of a coloring book, but changed his mind after seeing the creativity of kids’ drawings.
“When I was in schools talking to kids, not a lot of people know about the fire service. Right. So my idea was to create some early exposure as a kid and kind of keep them involved until it’s time for them to test.”
“What we have is a way that someone could put their own touch on the fire service. The imagination goes wild when they start coloring,” Chaney added. “Every time I have a book now, I’m going to have to come right back with a coloring book where kids can kind of put their own touch to it.”
Chaney plans to release another book focused on careers in the trades next month. For more information on Chaney and his books, visit his website here.