Joe Sweeney, 83
Retired fire chief
Not everyone who works for a city opts to live there, too, but when Joe Sweeney started working for the Lyndhurst Fire Department in the late 1960s, he and his wife, Peggy, decided to relocate the family from Cleveland Heights to the community Sweeney served.
“It seemed like a natural fit,” he says. “The community was young, with a great school system, and we were happy to have our kids able to attend the local schools.” That was more than 50 years ago. Since then, all six Sweeney children have gone through South Euclid Lyndhurst Schools, and though they’ve since moved — with two sons serving other local fire departments — the elder Sweeneys remain in Lyndhurst.
From 1981 to 1998, Sweeney served as fire chief, and he has fond memories of how closely the department interacted with the community, from providing the schools first aid training to participating in Home Days, an opportunity for townspeople to get to know their firefighters on a nonemergency basis by touring the station.
Now retired, he still sees the city’s commitment to service as its biggest asset. “It’s just a wonderful community, really,” says Sweeney. “It has all the nice services and parks, and the city keeps everything up, whether it’s street maintenance or rubbish pickup.”
He and Peggy frequent nearby Lyndhurst Park, which is home to a swimming pool, tennis courts and a senior-friendly community center. After half a century in Lyndhurst, Sweeney is more than happy to stay where he is: “It would be a hard place to move from.”