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Peninsula Township Offices | Jane Boursaw Photo
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There have been quite a few changes with Peninsula Township personnel over the past few months, including the Township Deputy, Township Board and Peninsula Fire Department. Here’s a rundown of the changes.

Police Services

(Provided by the Grand Traverse County Sheriff Department through a contract with Peninsula Township)

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Brian Abbring is now the Peninsula Township Deputy, taking over from previous deputy Jason Hamilton. Brian, who is married and has a two-year-old daughter, grew up in Lowell, Michigan and moved to Traverse City to work for the Sheriff’s Department. He attended Grand Valley State University and received a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Criminal Justice.

Brian also attended the Police Academy at Grand Valley State University and has worked at the Grand Traverse County Sheriff’s Office for more than five years, serving in the Field Services Division and as an Evidence Technician for the department. He looks forward to working with the Peninsula Township community and continuing the professional service the Sheriff’s Office has provided over the years. He can be reached at (231) 223-4525, (231) 313-4525 or email [email protected].

Peninsula Township Board

Township Trustee Maura Sanders announced in October that her husband Todd has accepted a position with McChrystal Group in Alexandria, Virginia. They’ve listed their house for sale (click here if you’re interested) and Maura says she and the kids will join Todd in Virginia once it sells. She will continue her service as a Trustee until the move.

Peninsula Fire Department

Fred Gilstorff has been hired as the new Fire Chief for the Peninsula Fire Department and began his new job in December. Fred previously served as the Deputy Chief of the City of Wayne Fire Department. Fred can be reached at (231) 223-4443 (NON Emergency only). Read more about Fred and his goals for the Peninsula Fire Department here.

Grant Blackmer has been hired as a full-time firefighter. Grant has been with the department as a member since 2001. In a letter to the Township Board, Gilstorff writes, “He brings great skill and experience to the full-time position. Grant is a leader who takes the time to share his knowledge and experiences with our newer and younger firefighters.”

Michael Vandermey has been hired as a part-time paid on call firefighter. Mike is a township resident and past member of the department. “Since coming back around the firehouse, Michael has shown a great interest in the department and is eager to start helping with his community through the fire department,” writes Gilstorff. “As you know, the Vandermey name has a strong history with the fire department, and I see Michael carrying on that tradition.”

Daniel Drew has been hired as a part-time paid on call firefighter. Dan served as a firefighter in Walker, Michigan before moving to the Old Mission Peninsula. His main job is as a fire investigator with significant experience. “Dan will bring an eager attitude to learn and become a contributing member of this department,” writes Gilstorff. “Dan’s knowledge and experience will go a long way in improving this department’s ability in providing a high level of service to this community.”

John Buzyniski has been hired as a part-time paid on call firefighter. A freshman at Northwestern Michigan College, John comes from New York and has firefighting and EMS experience. “John seems eager to learn and gain experience within our department,” writes Gilstorff. “John would help us by giving us some personnel in the southern part of the township.”

At the January 9 Township Board meeting, the board approved the hiring of Vandermey, Drew and Buzyniski, who will move forward with training. Gilstorff noted that while non-fulltime fire personnel are often referred to as “volunteer,” this is not accurate as all fire personnel are paid for their time responding to calls. The correct term for these positions is “part-time paid on call” fire personnel.

A NOTE FROM JANE: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers and magazines like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So I started my own newspaper. Because the Gazette is mainly reader-supported, I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks my way if I mention your event, your business, your organization or your news item, or if you simply love reading about what's happening on the OMP. Check out the donation page here. Thank you so much for your support. -jb

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