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Fire department honors top member, volunteers

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The Saugatuck Township Fire District honored members and volunteers at its eighth annual Appreciation Dinner April 27 at St. Peter’s Catholic Church.

Chief Greg Janik noted the department responded to more than 900 calls in 2018, the most of any fire district in Allegan County.

The STFD also led the construction, incorporating nine partner departments, in the first live fire training facility in the county and became the first Michigan department to implement a #Press to Test smoke alarm campaign in a public school.

The local district leads the county with the most automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in officers’ private vehicles.

“Standing watch,” Janik told attendees, “over our community and our fellow citizens, not because we are seeking recognition or reward or are compelled to do so by any agency, force or government. We are there out of gratitude, loyalty, and choice.

“Every firefighter (and EMS responder) has accepted a personal. self-imposed obligation to a sacred covenant with their fellow citizens. It is an obligation to humanity, fidelity, character, and one another,” the STFD chief said.

Emergency Medical Service Director David Blatt was honored as both EMS Provider of the Year and making the department’s most paid on call EMT responses, 230 in 2018.

Peers voted firefighter and EMT Kaleigh Dornbush Firefighter of the year, Capt. Mike Betts and Lt. Chris Bernardy Fire Officers of the Year, and photographer Erin Wilkinson Volunteer of the Year.