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by Jon Wilcox  - Victoria Advocate
February 14, 2016

Former Placedo Fire Chief Dillard Schooley inspired his volunteers to be better.

"He inspired me to go to EMT school," said Monica Estrada, a veteran emergency medical technician of 13 years.

Schooley died Feb. 7 at the age of 68. The former fire chief was given a firefighter's funeral Wednesday in
Victoria and was buried at Memory Gardens Cemetery.

During Schooley's more than 25 years of service with volunteer fire departments in Bloomington and Placedo,
he went above and beyond the call of duty, colleagues said.

He also gave more than 40 years to Alcoa, serving the company in safety and emergency roles.

"Dillard was always in safety at Alcoa," said Louis Faltesek, former volunteer firefighter in Placedo.

Faltesek served as assistant fire chief under Schooley in Placedo and remembers those years fondly, he said.

"I enjoyed every minute of it," he said.

Estrada said the former fire chief was an inspiration to many, including herself.
"He believed in me," she said.

Faltesek said Schooley's sense of humor and willingness to listen to others made him an excellent leader.
"He always had a way of making people who were getting a little low a little happier," Faltesek said.

Schooley enjoyed joking at the Placedo department, Estrada said. Outgoing and generous, he easily charmed
those he worked with - an ability he used to motivate those around him.
"He was very funny," Estrada said. "He had a very good sense of humor. He was such a nice man."

Schooley's leadership built the Placedo fire department into a more effective resource for the community,
Faltesek said.
Under Schooley's guidance, the department was able to field up to five units and eight medics at a time, he said.

In his years at the department, Schooley was not above completing the smallest tasks, Faltesek said. The former
chief liked to lead by example, he said.
"He was chief cook and bottle-washer," Faltesek said. "That means you do everything from being a chief to
whatever it takes."

Although the former chief gave much of his energy to the fire department, he loved relaxing with his family.
Faltesek said he thinks Schooley enjoyed the last years of his life, giving much of his time to his two favorite
activities: "fishing and grandbabies."

Despite the happiness of the man's last years, Faltesek said, he was deeply saddened to see his old friend go.  
It's just a sad situation, " he said.