Clare County Review & Marion Press

Faces in the Crowd: Kevin Sisson

The kids: Milly, Olivia, and Kevin

Kevin Sisson, the son of Kevin and Lisa Sisson, has made it a point to give back to the community that has given so much to him.
A 2011 Marion graduate, Kevin is a volunteer firefighter for the Marion Fire Department and a volunteer basketball coach with Marion Schools.
Grateful for the community support he received growing up, he feels like it’s the least he can do. And he feels like volunteering is one of the most important things anyone can do.
In addition to his community service, he works as a forest fire officer, traveling the country working in wildfire suppression.
His most important job, however, is being dad to three beautiful kids: Milly, Olivia, and Kevin.
We caught up with Kevin recently and learned a little bit more about his story. We learned that Kevin Sisson is much more than just another face in the crowd.
Marion Press: Where were you born and raised?
Kevin: I was born in Cadillac; raised in Marion all my life. Came here from LeRoy when I was two or three years old, really young, and I started pre-school at the elementary, then gradually moved up to the high school and ended up graduating in 2011.
MP: What kept you busy growing up?
Kevin: Oh, shoot. Hanging out with Jimmy Johnson, and Nick Bowman, Jared Frederick… hearing George Johnson’s stories – that was always fun; I miss the guy. Just sports, and hanging out with those guys in the summertime. It kept us busy. Hanging out at my house; hanging out at Jimmy’s house; playing basketball at the elementary school; going over to Jimmy’s grandparents house for Faygo root beer and cookies.
MP: What are some of your favorite memories from going to school here in Marion?
Kevin: I think just the camaraderie of the basketball teams and football teams. Just hanging out with the guys and seeing them every day. Just playing sports in general, we had a ton of fun.
MP: You like to fish in your free time, who got you into that?
Kevin: My Grandpa [Brice] Vandervlught. He taught me how to make spinners, and we’d go steelhead and salmon fishing in the fall and in the spring. I’d help him split wood, and just help my family out when I could.
MP: And your mom was a bus driver. I remember when you used to ride along to the sporting events as a little kid…
Kevin: Oh yeah. My mom was a bus driver for 20 years, I think. I think what really got me into basketball was Steve Henderson. He asked me to be his water boy in 5th grade. So I did that for a couple of years and then I just stuck with it ever since then.
MP: What keeps you busy these days?
Kevin: Well, I’ve got twin daughters, Milly and Olivia, and then I’ve got Kevin – he’s crazy! He’s just a good boy in general. And the girls are just exceptional. Potty training is just the hardest thing though, trying to do 3 at once… It’s been fun, but it’s challenging at times as well. The girls will be 4 in April, and Kevin will be 3 in March, so we had them 11 months apart.
I worked out of Harrison last summer, as a forest fire officer, and I went to Montana and Minnesota – those were definitely fun trips, I’d want to go again. Wildland, wildfire suppression. In the springtime, it’s considered fire season, so we’re doing prescribed burns, and helping out these volunteer fire departments with that aspect of it. Helping out the communities involved, and it’s a ton of fun. This is my 7th year doing it. I was just doing it in a seasonal role, and last year I moved into a full-time role.
MP: What do you enjoy the most about your job?
Kevin: Just helping the communities. I’m a volunteer fireman for the fire department here in Marion, so just helping out in general.
MP: The Marion Fire Department – who got you into that?
Kevin: My dad, actually. He was a volunteer fireman for about 5 or 6 years, and he ended up having some health issues. But it’s always stuck with me, from a young kid all the way growing up. My parents have definitely been a big influence on my life.
MP: How long have you been involved with the fire department?
Kevin: Since I moved back here; about 4 or 5 years now. We get a lot of medical runs. That keeps us pretty busy. We’re just trying to get continuous improvement. Volunteering is the most important thing that anyone can do. We don’t have enough volunteers – that’s another thing.
MP: So if any of our readers want to volunteer, they could be of service?
Kevin: Oh, absolutely!
MP: Giving back to the community seems to be a big part of your life?
Kevin: They always gave to us, they always supported us, sports wise, and for graduation our gym was packed. I just want to try to give back now. As much as [the community] did for us, I just want to do a big part for them. I just appreciate the community in general and try to give back when I can.
MP: What is the best advice that you’ve been given, or would give to others?
Kevin: Honestly, when you get a goal, just stick with it. There’s going to be ups and downs, getting to that goal, but always stick with it. Stick with your gut. Do what you want to do. Obviously, life is going to throw you curveballs, but you’ve got to get past that and get to what you want to do. Set goals, try to achieve those goals, and create new ones.
MP: Who have been your role models over the years?
Kevin: I would say your dad [teacher Tim Michell] especially. He helped push a lot of us through, with the Michigan standards for math. I was not a very good math student, so he helped me out quite a bit. My grandparents, my parents, and a lot of the teachers at the school – they always tried to do their best to help us out when they could.
My grandpa, he passed away my senior year, which, yeah, it sucked. I wanted to graduate, especially for him, so he could watch me graduate. What he showed me, those are things that I can pass on to my kids. Legacy and tradition.
MP: So is basketball your favorite sport?
Kevin: Absolutely. It gave us a lot to do in the wintertime. But we played year-round; playing pick-up basketball is always a fun time in the summer. Especially hanging out with the guys: we could always play 2-on-2 when it was just four of us. I grew up with it, and I enjoy it the most, I guess.

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