By CYNTHIA KMETT
The Troy Fire Department is staffed by about 180 volunteer firefighters and 11 professional staff members. The Troy Fire Department was organized in 1940 by a group of businessmen and concerned citizens in what was known as Big Beaver, a small “village” located at Big Beaver Road and Rochester Road.
This group convinced the Township Board that a fire department was needed as well as a fire truck and other equipment (which were delivered in March, 1940). The Fire Department had 19 founding members and operated out of a Ford dealership and garage on Rochester Road south of Big Beaver.
These men and women volunteers come to your home fires, office fires, vehicle fires, and accidents, and have even been known to rescue a cat or two. They do not get paid for this community service, and to stay active they have to take regular training.
A number of years ago, the Troy Firefighters Women’s Auxiliary wanted to honor those members who had passed on. Gerry Young, whose husband Lee was a firefighter, came up with the idea of a memorial service each spring. They started planting trees to honor each departed firefighter each spring in Firefighters Park on Square Lake Road. But times change and with no gardening done in the park, many of the trees have also passed on. Plaques telling who was being honored have turned up missing.
It was time for a new way to honor those who have protected us all these many years. The idea of a memorial wall at Firefighters Park has been spoken of for a number of years. Now it seems like even Troy City Council thinks this is the right time, having budgeted $65,000 for the project.
The cost of a wall, with engraved names and maybe a plaque or two, could easily top $100,000 by estimates obtained by the committee working on the project. Chaired by Firefighter Todd Dudzinski, and working with Firefighter Ryan Cousino, the pair have a design in mind, which you will see on their flyers as fundraising officially begins. They even have plans to add a few benches and space to hold future memorial services.
In fact, the members of the Women’s Auxiliary kicked off the new campaign as they made a $5,000 contribution to the Memorial Wall last Sunday during the annual Fire Department Open House at Station #1. “The Women’s Firefighters Auxiliary was happy to commemorate all the service these firefighters have given to our community,” noted Jeanne Stine, who had served as the Auxiliary president a number of terms over the years, and whose husband Jack had been a Troy firefighter.
The committee hopes that members of the community will also be willing to contribute to the Memorial Wall. The Troy Firefighters Community Fund is a 501C(3) and can legally collect donations. You can send a check payable to: Troy Firefighters Community Fund, and addressed to the Troy Fire Department, Troy, MI 48084.