The small community of Rock that straddles the boundary line between Marquette and Delta counties is a world away from Washington, but it's good to know that the people we have elected to represent us in the nation's capitol know where it is.
This was brought home last weekend when U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Southfield, paid a visit to Rock to check out what the community has done with some federal grants he helped secure over the years.
The main beneficiary of the funding was the Tri-Township Fire Department, which has received between $250,000 and $300,000 in federal grants over the past decade. A new fire truck - the first new truck the department has ever had - was the biggest item, with a price tag of $201,000.
Members of the fire department and the community came out in force to publicly thank Levin, as well as give him a tour of the facilities and show off what the federal funding had helped the department accomplish.
What the equipment has done is enable the department to better serve the roughly 1,000 residents of Maple Ridge, Turin and Ewing townships, jurisdictions that cover a total of about 250 square miles.
Levin represents literally hundreds of similar communities across the state, and he knows how important local volunteer fire departments are to his constituents. He 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 during his visit to Rock. "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."
Having served in the U.S. Senate for the past 35 years, Levin certainly has had a positive impact on numerous communities across Michigan, both big and small. Deciding not to run for re-election next year, it's nice to see our senior senator visiting rural areas such as Rock to interact with with the residents he serves - as well as providing those who have benefited from his work the chance to thank him.