ROCK - Firefighters and residents in Rock greeted U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Detroit, Saturday, thanking him for helping the Tri-Township Fire Department secure roughly $300,000 in federal grant funding over the past decade.
Levin and former U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Menominee, helped secure Assistance to Firefighter grant funds for an emergency power generator, emergency "jaws of life" extrication equipment and - finally - the first new fire truck the department has ever had.
Between $250,000 and $300,000 was received for all the fire grants over the past decade. The grant for the fire truck alone was $201,000.
Dave Hall, former fire board chairman for the Tri-Township Fire Department, reads U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Detroit, the “Fireman’s Prayer” that is printed on the back of a fire department T-shirt Hall gave to Levin Saturday in Rock. Firefighters and residents thanked Levin for his support of federal grants that helped them obtain badly-needed firefighting equipment. (Journal photo by John Pepin)
"We've had it (the fire truck) just about a year now," said Dave Hall, who served as chairman of the fire board during the time funds were being sought through Congress for fire equipment. "For all the years we hoped to actually get the grant and to see it arrive here was like a miracle. It was a dream come true."
Anticipating Levin's arrival, Hall said: "It's nice to get the recognition of him coming here, but I look forward to the opportunity to thank him."
Hall held an extra-large sized T-shirt in his hand.
"This is a special shirt that's got the 'Fireman's Prayer' on it and so we're going to give him the shirt to remember our Tri-Township Fire Department with," Hall said. "It's really a neat prayer."
A bystander hearing Hall yelled, "It's the wrong size."
Hall responded, "I'm going to tell him it was a little bit bigger than probably what he could wear. He could cut it in two."
Levin serves on the committee that approves the Federal Emergency Management Administration grants.
"We're always very mindful of what you folks do here, when you're fighting fires and taking on other emergency duties as well sometimes," Levin said. "We're very grateful to you and this support that you get from the taxpayers is well deserved, I'm proud to be a small part of it. I don't claim to be the person writing the checks because you are all writing the checks, in essence, you're all paying taxes which come back in this form."
The Tri-Township Fire Department services about 1,000 residents in Mapleridge, Turin and Ewing townships along the Marquette-Delta counties border, with a firefighter coverage area of 250 square miles.
"We're grateful to all of you for the support you give to the firefighters, their families," Levin said. "Because it's a little bit like being in the military service, the families worry a little bit when these fire alarms go off, too."
Hall read the prayer from the back of the T-shirt while a crowd gathered around.
"Thank you for this," Levin said. "I know it's a real coincidence that the color is red."
Levin also supported the township's application for improvements to a park across from the fire hall in Rock. A total of $30,600 was received from the state.
John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org