Public Safety Director Craig Berte has appointed Captain John Zolondek as the Acting Fire Chief for the Cedar Falls Fire Division in accordance with City Ordinance 2-979 while the search for a permanent replacement is conducted.
Zolondek is a 16-year veteran of the Cedar Falls Public Safety Department. He previously served as a full-time firefighter for the Winona, Minnesota Fire Department. He is a nationally registered EMT and holds State of Iowa Fire Certifications of Firefighter 1 and 2, Fire Officer 1 and 2, Fire Instructor 1, Fire Inspector 1, HAZMAT Awareness and Operations, and Pumper/Operator. He is a certified peace officer and holds several police certifications including Drug Recognition Expert.
Zolondek previously served as Military Policeman in the United States Marine Corps. He is a combat veteran who served in Al-Ramadi and Al-Fallujah, Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003-2004. He was awarded a Navy Achievement Medal with VALOR for his actions in Iraq.
Zolondek has a Master's Degree from Saint Ambrose University and a Bachelor's Degree from Saint Mary's University in Minnesota. He is a two-time recipient of MercyOne's Heroes Among Us Award. Both awards were for life-saving efforts; one as a Police Officer in 2018 and a second as a Firefighter in 2019.
The hiring process for a permanent Fire Chief replacement is underway. The process is expected to conclude in early June.