Dedicated firefighter is devoted father
Mark White is the husband of Kathy and the father of three children, Ben, 18; Maggie, 15; and Katie, 12.
Updated: July 15, 2012 6:36AM
Franklin Park resident Mark White is the all-around citizen and father.
The battalion chief, 53, has been a Franklin Park resident for his entire life. He has been a Franklin Park firefighter for 32 years, a park district commissioner and an elected official. He serves on the board of a Little League team, the Vipers. He is part of the Fire Inspection Bureau that makes inspections for commercial properties in Franklin Park. As an adjunct professor at Triton College, he teaches one class a semester on fire prevention and building construction for the fire service.
Besides all of his service and loyalty to Franklin Park, White is the husband of Kathy and the father of three children, Ben, 18; Maggie, 15; and Katie, 12.
“Kathy and I met at Triton when I began studying fire science,” White said. “She was my counselor. We began talking and I asked her out.”
Now they’re the proud parents of three children. Ben recently graduated from East Leyden High School and plans on studying secondary education at Triton College in the fall. Maggie still attends East Leyden and Katie goes to Hester Junior High School. At school, Ben was an access mentor and Eagle Scout. Maggie has been involved in various plays at East Leyden and is a member of the choir. Katie is also leaning toward the arts for her future high school career.
“The best part about being a father is watching them succeed and be happy,” White said. “My kids are very positive to begin with, so it’s easy for them to excel at whatever interests them.”
Career-wise, White was inspired to be a firefighter because his father was also a Franklin Park firefighter. His father was one of the original six firefighters in 1958.
“I tested and landed a spot on Franklin Park’s Fire Department when I finished fire science at Triton,” White said. “And now, I am in the twilight of my career.”
Although White said being a firefighter is not always as dramatic as Hollywood makes it out to be, he’ll never forget one experience. One night, during a horrible blizzard, a man was released from the hospital. He was given an electronic bed to sleep in. Due to the storm, the man had lost power in his home, but needed his electronic bed.
“We were trying to get the generator to work for him,” White said. “After we got it to work, a newer firefighter was so proud of our accomplishment. To this day, he still retells the story. It’s little things we do that stick with me.”
Not only does White love his job because of his heroic encounters, but this amazing dad spends a lot of time with his children.
“My job requires me to work 24 hours and be off for 48,” he said. “I’ve been able to attend a lot of events for my kids, such as field trips. I’ve been able to take them to a lot of Sox games.”
For Father’s Day this year, White plans on taking his family down to their lake house in Indiana.
“With everyone’s schedules, it has become harder to all spend time together,” he said. “That weekend, we will have no other commitments. That’s what will make it special.”
White’s greatest memory of his father was him being around for him and his siblings.
“He worked a lot to provide for us,” White said. “I wish all of my kids could’ve met him. He passed away when my kids were young, but he would’ve been the world’s best grandfather.”