The Peninsula Township Fire Department continues to make great strides forward in protecting and serving the residents of Peninsula Township. This week, Fire Chief Fred Gilstorff announced the recipients of the 2020 Peninsula Township Fire Department awards, including Firefighter of the Year, Life Saving Awards and Department Citations.
Because of public gathering restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the awards are being presented to each individual by Chief Gilstorff, rather than at a Township Board meeting as they were last year (see photos of last year’s awards here).
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“I am grateful for the efforts of all the Fire Department staff and applaud them for their dedication and service to the community,” said Gilstorff. “They have all dealt with the very trying times of 2020 with a passion and fire to be safe and healthy, and to continue delivering high-quality service to the residents of Peninsula Township.”
He added, “The department greatly appreciates all the time and energy that each member puts in to make us who we are as a team. We also thank the community for all their support.”
This year’s recipient of the “2020 Fire Chief Richard VanderMey Memorial Firefighter of the Year Award” was presented to Lt. Ethan Passalacqua. “Ethan’s passion and dedication to the Fire Department and community is commended, and we thank him for all his hard work to move the department forward,” said Gilstorff.
Here is a full list of the award recipients:
“Fire Chief Richard VanderMey Memorial Firefighter of the Year Award”: Lieutenant Ethan Passalacqua
Life Saving Awards – Sept. 4, 2020: Lt. Ethan Passalacqua, Grant Blackmer, Jason Schuitema, Mike VanderMey and Cory Reamer
Life Saving Awards – Oct. 22, 2020: Lt. Nick Haines, Bethany Wyman, Paul Lipke, Mike VanderMey and Chuck Downer
Life Saving Awards – Sept. 21, 2020: Lt. Brent Strom, Kyle Sarber, Joe Sicoli and Mike VanderMey
Department Citations: Lt. Brent Strom, Lt. Nick Haines, Kyle Sarber, Mike VanderMey, Joe Sicoli and Cory Reamer
Stoney Beach Point House Fire – Oct. 12, 2020: Lt. Ethan Passalacqua, Grant Blackmer, Jason Schuitema, Jordan LaPoint, Bethany Wyman, Mike VanderMey, Dan Drew and Wolstano Paniagua (read more about the fire here).
Tree-Plantings at Bowers Harbor Park
The Peninsula Township Parks Committee has been busy planting trees around the Old Mission Peninsula, and Committee Member Eric Dreier said they had some help from the Peninsula Township Fire Department.
The Committee planted more than 50 trees at Bowers Harbor Park this past year. Due to some nocturnal snowmobile and other motorized traffic outside the parking lot, there was a concern that the trees could be run over in the dark.
“A decision was made to mark the trees with bright tape so they would be more noticeable,” said Dreier. “When I called Fred [Gilstorff, Township Fire Chief], he immediately offered to provide the tape needed to mark the trees. I greatly appreciate him sharing, and it is rewarding to serve a township that helps one another.”
Dave Sanger, Peninsula Township Enforcement Officer and a member of the Township Board, agreed. “We are proud of our fire department and very fortunate to have Fred as our chief.”
And Parks Committee Chair Mike Skurski added to the kudos. “Tree planting has been one of the committee’s goals to replace and enhance the canopy over our parklands, and helping the survival of the trees recently planted at Bowers Harbor Park is highly appreciated,” he said. “Having all parts of the Peninsula Township work together indeed gives us a strong structure to solve problems and make progress.”
New Fire Department Member
Chief Gilstorff reports that Frederick Danielson, a new trainee member of the Fire Department, is currently taking classes to be a firefighter and emergency medical technician.
“During our interview, I was thoroughly impressed with Fred’s passion to serve the community and to do it by being a firefighter,” said Gilstorff. “Fred is a veteran of the United States Air Force and currently works as a flight instructor at NMC. I believe he will be a great asset to our department once trained.”
Car in the Water
On Dec. 28, 2020, the Peninsula Township Fire Department and local Law Enforcement responded to a vehicle in the water at the intersection of Center Road and Wilson Road. Slick roads from snowfall were believed to be the cause, and the driver was uninjured and assisted to safety.
Gilstorff commended both the fire staff and Nickerson Towing for their fast response to safely remove the vehicle from East Bay without causing environmental hazard.
Tonight’s crews and Law Enforcement responded to a vehicle in the water at Center Rd and Wilson Rd. Slick roads from snowfall believed to be the cause. The occupant was was uninjured and assisted to safety. Big thank you to Nickerson Towing for fast response with their big rig to safely remove the vehicle from the Bay without causing environmental hazard!Posted by Peninsula Twp. Fire Department on Monday, December 28, 2020
New Fire Station 3 on the North End
Construction work continues on the new Fire Station 3 on the north end of the Old Mission Peninsula (on Center Road between Swaney Road and Tompkins Road), and Gilstorff expects to start moving in during the next month or so.
About a week ago, the Fire Department’s Facebook page noted that the siding and painting were nearly complete. The cabinets were next, with the floors and drop ceiling to follow.
“All we need now is to add some firefighters and a fire truck to make this building our home,” said Gilstorff. “By the end of February, this should happen.”
For more about the Peninsula Township Fire Department, check out their page on the Peninsula Township website, follow them on Facebook, contact Chief Gilstorff at [email protected] or (231) 463-0330, or call the Fire Department (non-emergency calls) at (231) 223-4443. As always, if you are having an emergency, dial 911.
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 like the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, and magazines like 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 of course, 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 Old Mission Peninsula. Check out the donation page here. Thank you so much for your support. -jb