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The Chillicothe Voice

Chillicothe Hometown Hero—John Edward Sprinkle

Oct 29, 2022 04:32PM ● By Gary Sharp
When we strive to be better than we are, everything around us becomes better too. Not long ago, John and Sue Sprinkle visited a place called ground zero, in a land of eight million emotionally wounded brothers and sisters. Not since Pearl Harbor had all Americans felt so violated. The great loss of life that day included many valuable first responders who, with what was born into them, stepped in harms way to save and rescue as many as possible. As Americans, that’s what we do and who we are and much more. They were both very touched and moved by the 911 memorial.
For the last 50 years of John Sprinkle’s 69 year life he has devoted, volunteered, and donated his experience, time, and labor to the service of his fellow citizens in this town he calls home. He was born March 6, 1953 in Monmouth, IL to John and Raamah Sprinkle. He and his little brother Pat, were exposed early to a fire fighter’s life from their first hero, their father, who was a volunteer in Smithshire, IL. The Sprinkle family moved to Chillicothe and John attended Union Grade School until the fourth grade when they moved to Brimfield until his sophomore year then back to Chilli to play football for one of his most inspirational mentors, George Taylor. Seems that many years earlier John’s father, also a ghost, played for the coach.
After High School, John attended Western Illinois. University for one year and attained an Associates Degree in Fire Science at Illinois Central College. It was around this time when he met Sue, a Richwoods High School beauty, who captured his heart. When I asked him what his greatest accomplishment was, he replied marrying her. He said it twice and I believe him. Together for 46 years and 2 children, Carrie Ann and John Robert, their first date was at the Beverly Theatre and the movie was Paper Moon.
While Sue handled a career as a registered nurse for 35 years, John worked at Caterpillar as a journeyman electrician for 32 years. He has EMT training as well as a State Certified Fire Instructor Level 3 status, and owns a Red Cross Award for Computer Tech Support Services. Along with many other fire service certificates, John recently received his 50 year service plaque. He claims, modestly, to be only an average guy but is in reality a very civic minded volunteer of the Food Pantry and causes and activities of his Methodist Church affiliation.
People who were very influential in John’s life and success are his own heroes. The likes of former Chief Gail Myers and Coach George Taylor, both legends and Deputy Chief Don Tyler. Also seven Grey Ghosts school buddies from the past. D. LeMaster, C. Schumacher, H. Grafton, R. Thomas, R. Reed, J. Morris, and M. Babcock.
Franklin said: “When you are good to others, you are best to yourself.” These words accurately describe John Sprinkle. A 50 year asset and credit to the Chillicothe Fire Dept., Chillicothe Community Fire Dept. and now volunteer fire fighter of the newly formed Chillicothe Community Fire Protection District. If home is where the heart is, then John’s heart belongs to Chillicothe. He is a great example and ambassador to the younger fire fighters and helps pave the way for them to succeed.
There have been and always will be Hometown Heroes in Chillicothe of different walks, occupations, and stature. Now Senior Captain of the Chillicothe Community Fire Protection District John Edward Sprinkle ranks among them.

Thank you John.

Author’s note: Soon after completing this interview with Captain Sprinkle, I was advised of his retirement from the Chillicothe Community Fire Protection District.

A Note from the CCFPD:
For many reasons, Captain Sprinkle’s retirement will leave a hole in our department. John joined the department at 19 in 1953 and has held many ranks, including Fireman, Engineer, Captain, Senior Captain, and most recently, House Captain at Station 2. John has led the Wednesday morning training sessions for many years.
You will not often find a person to devote 50 years of their life to volunteering unless it is something they love. John will take his years of experience, knowledge, and dedication with him. Captain Sprinkle has consistently been one of the top call responders. Helping people and responding to emergencies was John’s passion. It did not matter what kind of call it
was or what time of night it was; John was usually there. I will miss knowing that we will have a good water supply when Car 18 is on the scene.
t is time for John to spend more time with the other things he loves, like family and golfing. John, you will be missed, and it will change our department forever. I wish you well and on behalf of the Chillicothe Community Fire Protection District members and our citizens, Thank you for all you have done. 

— Marvin Roderick, Fire Chief