In honor of Veterans Day, the Plainfield Park District is recognizing Risk Manager Paul Crisman and Park Board Commissioner Tracee Steele, both of who served their country.
Crisman, an employee of the District the past 26+ years, served in the Air Force (1987-1992) during Desert Storm, the conflict between Iraq and a coalition of countries led by the United States. Crisman enlisted while in high school and was part of the security police. He was stationed at a bomb depot in England.
After returning and graduating from South Dakota State University with a bachelor’s degree in park management, Crisman worked at Daktronics, plating and etching circuit boards for nearly three years. In 1997, he joined the Plainfield Park District as a division manager in the parks department.
While at a job fair representing the Park District at Joliet Junior College, he engaged in casual conversation with a Navy recruiter. The recruiter proved influential, as Crisman enlisted in the Navy, serving from 2000 to 2003. He was in naval intelligence and was again stationed in England, where he monitored the Iraq War.
Crisman returned to the Park District as a division manager after his service, and was later promoted to sports fields manager in 2013 and risk manager in 2018.
In his free time, Crisman volunteers as the Senior Vice Commander at Morris American Legion Post 294. He is also the Director of the Morris American Legion Riders, a group that fundraises to help local veterans.
Commissioner Steele, who was appointed to her board position this past May, served in the Army, enlisting at age 17 during her junior year of high school through the Army National Guard’s Split Training Program. Upon graduation, she attended Advanced Individual Training, learning the technical skills needed for her specific Army job in a chemical unit.
Steel was activated for Operation Desert Storm and was stationed in Kentucky, where her unit provided chemical overhead concealment for ingoing and outgoing troops. She also worked in equipment, records and payroll while stationed at several other locations in her 10.5 years of Army service.
“Serving for 10.5 years as a soldier is one of the proudest moments of my life,” Steele said.
Steele is currently an assistant principal at Kankakee High School.