Clare County Review & Marion Press News

Fireman’s Ball among Marion Fire Department Fundraisers for 2023

Fire Chief David Turner demonstrates the new windshield cutter
Assistant Fire Chief Bruce Tower with new Rescue 42 Stabilizers
Snowmobile Club President Dave Swiler [middle] stands with Tower and Turner and donated items

NOVEMBER 4TH, 2023 @ 6 PM
On Saturday, November 4th, the Fireman’s Club is welcoming everyone to come out and support the Marion Fire Department by attending the Fireman’s Ball at the Olde Mill Venue. Tickets are $25 each, and can be purchased at Untamed Archery, Flemming’s Clothing, or Christie’s Potting Shed. Tickets can also be purchased by sending a check to Marion Fireman’s Club, P.O. Box 327, Marion, MI 49665, with tickets being mailed back.
“It’s a fundraiser for us for additional equipment, training, our prevention program,” said Assistant Fire Chief Bruce Tower. “We’re trying to raise funds to offset what the fireboard gives us, and we’re trying to add to it with these funds.”
Along with a dinner by Dawn’s Catering, the event will feature a silent auction, a 50-50 raffle, an awards presentation, DJ and music, and cash bar.
“We’re going to have a kayak that we’re raffling off; a 50-50 drawing – you’ll have to be there to get into that,” Tower said. “We’ve got a lot of items being donated by businesses and the public for a silent auction and bucket drop. Morgan’s Composting donated pretty much one of everything that they make. CCI of Cadillac gave us a bag with two coats – we’re gathering a lot of stuff from businesses in town who have donated.”
“$25 per person will get you in,” Tower said. “That will get you a catered meal by Dawn’s Catering. Then there’s a fireman’s program presentation of our fireman of the year award, and we’re going to recognize other fire departments that are in attendance. Once that’s done, we’re going to have dancing by a DJ. The Olde Mill Venue is helping to sponsor this, and they’re having an open cash bar. Tickets are on sale, need to get them bought by October 21st so that we can have a head count for the caterer.”
Marion Fire Chief David Turner explained how the department relies on additional fundraising to help keep the department strong.
“The fire department is supported by tax millage, and there isn’t always enough tax millage,” Turner said. “So instead of going back to the taxpayers and always wanting and asking and asking [for money], the fireman’s club [does a lot of fundraising] – and they’ve done it for years and years. So all the work that we’re doing as individual firemen with the fundraising is putting money back into the department for equipment and supplies for the community.”
Without the help from the fireman’s club and the local community, the department wouldn’t be nearly as well equipped, nor trained.
“That’s the nice thing about these guys donating,” Turner said. “It’s a volunteer department. We’re community based, community oriented, and the community is very supportive and has been for a very long time. And we can see that in the donations coming into the department.”
The Marion Vintage Snowmobile Club recently donated funding for a variety of new equipment for the department. New equipment includes a pole light, a battery operating cutting machine, a cut-off saw, and a porta-pump among other items.
“The budget for the fire department is limited, with everything that we have to do,” Tower said. “When we want to get some new equipment, the fireman club put together a wish list for equipment and as we can find funding, we buy some of that equipment. The snowmobile club gave [us] the check at the same time that we were putting our list together. And the amount that was given was within ten dollars of what we spent – so we still had ten dollars left!”
Snowmobile Club President Dave Swiler was glad to see the funds go to a good cause.
“We’ve had the snowmobile club going for 15 years, it started in 2009,” Swiler said. “I was going to retire as the president, and the club is dissolving now. Right from day one, the fire department, the EMTs and the whole village has been behind us 100% and given us phenomenal support. The fire department has always been there to help support us and take care of us. The first couple of years we parked the water wagon down here and used the fire pump here – we drained the water tower one night! For me, and a lot of the other club members, we felt [the donation] needed to come here. Between the fire department and the VFW Hall, they got the majority of what the club had. I didn’t want to see the club end, but unfortunately, after 15 years that’s what happened.”
In addition to the monies donated by the snowmobile club, the fire department received much needed equipment that was purchased by Middle Branch Township. Middle Branch is one of 5 townships – along with the village – that own the department.
“The second donation came from Middle Branch Township,” Tower said. We had rescue tools for car wrecks on our list, and a positive pressure fan – the fan won’t be here until November. We’ve got Rescue 42 Stabilizers for a vehicle that might be on it’s side, used to stabilize the wreck. [Middle Branch] also bought us a windshield cutter, that can take a windshield out of a car in a matter of seconds.”
Tower was grateful for the new purchases, with the goal being to adequately and efficiently respond to all types of emergencies.
“We want to be able to get where we need to be, and cover as many of the incidents that we get a hold of,” Tower said. “M-115 is one of our biggest response areas for car wrecks.”
In addition to some of the new equipment, the department will soon be upgrading with new turnout gear.
“This summer, the state of Michigan’s Treasury Dept. had a bunch of money they offered out to volunteer fire services to pay up to $10,000 per government unit,” Turner said. “There was an application process, and last week we were notified that we did get $10,000 for each government unit, so we get $60,000 – which will offset the turnout gear that we’re buying to replace the aging gear we have.”
While it’s one thing to be properly equipped, Turner is also excited to see department training and education grow and improve dramatically. The volunteer department now consists of nearly 30 members.
“We have six people completed EMT training recently that have been added to our roster,” Turner said. “We had six or seven who completed Firefighter 1 Academy, and about that many for Firefighter 2 Academy. We just finished Firefighter 2 Academy on Saturday, and all that training that we’re doing for our department has been here. We have an instructor who came here so our people don’t have to drive 70 miles to go do that. We’ve had other departments from Allegan, Wexford, Missaukee, Clare, that have sent their people here for training.”
Turner explained that the training is essential not only to get members up to speed, but also to understand some of the new hazards that may exist.
“We have some future plans moving forward, we’re looking at increasing our training ability,” Turner said. “We just sent six people to Electric Vehicle Extrication Fire Class two weeks ago – those will be some changes in our operation department. There’s a tremendous hazard for our fireman and responders with electric vehicles. So there’s a lot of changes that we’ll be seeing in the way we things, but our training will evolve and we’re going to continue to move forward.
More than anything perhaps, Turner is proud of the volunteers who keep the department going.
“I’m really proud of where we’re at, really proud of the personnel that we’ve got, they work hard.”

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