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Charlie Bliss

Charlie Bliss, 47
Relief lieutenant, Chicago Fire Department

Residence: Edgebrook

Charlie Bliss was wearing a Chicago Fire Department hat at a University of Illinois football clinic in Champaign when he was approached by a student who asked if he was with the department. Turns out, her dad was a fireman, so naturally, Bliss asked who he was. Coincidentally, it was Michael Forchione, who was on Bliss’s shift some 20 years ago. “He died in the line of duty,” he says. “The last time I saw her was at her dad’s funeral, and she couldn’t have been more than two.” So Bliss relived his stories about her dad with her and walked away from the conversation with a newfound realization of what it meant to be a firefighter. “I always loved what I do,” he says. “But it wasn’t until that point that I understood what that unsaid bond I’d always heard about was.”

As with most firemen, Bliss has side jobs. He coaches football at Maine South High School in Park Ridge and owns The Grind, a coffee shop in the Northbrook train station. “Most of the guys at the department are professional carpenters and electricians,” he laughs. “I put on a visor and some jeans and hang around the shop and sip coffee. It’s great.”

Bliss is a bit of a social butterfly. “I love being around people and am always looking for a good time,” he says. “If I’m going to date someone, they need to be able to work a room without my holding their hand.” And if you’re high maintenance, forget about it. “I’m done dating the princess,” he says. “They’re exhausting.”

Email Charlie at cm_cbliss@yahoo.com

Photography by McArthurphotography.com

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