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Jerome Township Fire Department Awards

Phone : 989-488-4578 Fax : 989-687-2318 737 W. Beamish Road, Sanford, Michigan 48657
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Jerome Township Fire Department

725 Irish Street, PO Box 17
Sanford, MI 48657-0017
Business Phone (989) 687-2600
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Midland County Firefighter of the Year Award

Each year the Midland Exchange Club along with Carl & Esther Gerstacker, award a Midland County firefighter and a City of Midland firefighter the Firefighter of the Year Award. Firefighters are nominated by fellow firefighters and must meet the following criteria:

* Must be an active firefighter.
* Nomination must list fire service involvement and activities.
* Community involvement and activities.
* Actions or activities that may be considered "Above and beyond the call of duty"
* Positive qualities and characteristics possessed

This has been an annual event since 1993. The following Jerome Township Firefighters have received this award:

* 1997 Allen J Cole
* 2002 Robert A McNett
* 2006 Wayne A McNett
* 2008 Justin M Hess

This Article is from the Midland Daily News. It is an interview with Wayne McNett on his fire career and how he earned his Firefighter of the year award.

McNett was raised in a family of firefighters, and recalls his long wait to become a member of the Jerome Township Fire Department. It remains very much a part of his family, with his father, brother and nephew also volunteering their time. "People don't understand what we give up," McNett said. He's missed birthday parties and other events to help those in need.

"I can remember as a little kid going to the fire department and loading hose on a truck," he said. "I couldn't wait to be a firefighter." He finally got his chance on Dec. 7, 1987.

In 1994, he was elected to the position of lieutenant, and in 2005 he was elected to be the deputy chief. The most important things about being a fireman to McNett are showing courage under fire and being there when needed to do the job. "I think it's just the desire to help people," he said. He's taken the time to outline and write specifications for the department's last three trucks, most recently an engine due to be delivered in January. After approval of the vehicles, McNett put together the bid packages, led reviews of the proposals and helped present them. He also leads the yearly hose testing -- that's 7,000 feet of hose that needs to be checked -- to ensure the safety of firefighters as well as reliability of equipment. McNett's community involvement includes being an active member of the New Heart Church of the Nazarene, a softball coach for three years and leading a Cub Scout troop for three years.

An incident detailed in the letter nominating him for the award is a crash in which he was involved last winter in Saginaw County. While McNett was traveling to work, a car slid on icy roads into his path. After the collision, the car came to rest upside down in a ditch filled with water. The driver was trapped by her seat belt with her head under the water. "I thought she was going to die right there in front of me and I can't help her," he said. With the help of a bystander, the woman was removed from her car, and shivered in McNett's truck while they waited for paramedics. "I was so excited that she was OK," he said.

"It's hard, but it's worth it. I can't imagine not being busy," Jerome Township deputy chief Wayne McNett said of his schedule as Cub Scout leader, softball coach, church leader and volunteer firefighter, along with working 40-50 hours a week at Dow Corning Corp. McNett got his start in firefighting at the age of 6 when he would help his father, now Jerome Township fire chief, load hoses onto the trucks. When asked what he enjoys about volunteering McNett responded, "Just being able to help people out and give them a little bit of hope."

Other Awards

November 16, 2007
Article from the Midland County website
Fire Chief Honored for Community Service

Volunteerism is a key part of Midland County's Emergency Management efforts and Bob McNett's longtime selfless service to the community in this area has not gone unnoticed. McNett, fire chief of the Jerome Township Fire Department, which serves the township and the Village of Sanford, has been honored by the Third District Emergency Management Association. The 14-counties that make up the association-including Midland-paid tribute to McNett at the group's recent Volunteer Appreciation Dinner, held at the Doubletree Hotel and Conference Center in Bay City.

"Over the years, Bob McNett has been a valuable resource to the Office of Emergency Management, from serving on committees, to providing command in the field during emergencies and disasters," says Roger Garner, Midland County Emergency Management Coordinator. "His dedication to his community and his volunteer spirit are second to none." McNett has led the Jerome Township Fire Department for over 50 years, officials say. His valuable assistance to Midland County's Emergency Management's operation includes serving as one of a core group of driver/operators of the Communications & Command Vehicle. He's volunteered for this position since 1998, Garner noted. "Bob always provides calm and thoughtful leadership when it's needed most," Garner says. "His volunteer service is greatly appreciated and deserving of recognition." McNett is currently serving as the Midland County Fire Chief Chief's Association representative to the Local Emergency Planning Committee and the 9-1-1 Technical Advisory Committee. He also has hosted several disaster exercises in Jerome Township, addressing problems ranging from wildfire in the Au Sable State Forest, to flooding caused by the failure of Edenville and Sanford dams.

In the spring of every year there is potential flooding in Sanford due to excessive runoff into the Tittabawassee River. McNett, Garner says, monitors this flooding situation and coordinates information with Sanford officials, the Office of Emergency Management, and local residents.

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