Throughout the emergencies it faces, the Grant Township Fire Department approaches the unknown as a family. “Our ultimate goal is to make sure all our men and women come home,” Fire Chief Dan Yost explained. Fire Chief Yost is extending this philosophy throughout the county’s first responder community through the Department’s Fire Rehab Trailer project. The Fire Rehab Trailer is designed to protect the well-being of first responders by creating a portable space to rehydrate, rest, and receive medical attention if needed. The county gave the Grant Fire Department a trailer, launching the program. The Fire Rehab Trailer received a $4,000 grant award from the Foundation’s Henry & Dorothy Fischer Family Fund for refurbishment. The Fire Rehab Trailer was furnished with heating and cooling, making it an important place for first responders to temporarily regroup while out in the field. The Fischer Family grant also covered costs associated with a generator and lighting. Community donations provided seating, other equipment, beverages and snacks. The Department completed the trailer in 2022 and it was put to use during the landmark structure fire in downtown Hart in June, offering first responders needed support and safety.
How do you spark even more creative expression in a town rich with culture, history and natural resources? The Pentwater Arts Council (PAC) knows the answer: through community engagement and placemaking. PAC is beginning its three-year-long Sculpture Walk Initiative in collaboration with the Pentwater Downtown Development Authority. In this project, five sculptures were placed along downtown Hancock Street. In preparation for its first summer, PAC’s Sculpture Initiative received a $6,500 grant supported by the Foundation’s Randall and Linda Wagner Family and the Janie Denman Legacy Funds. “The intent is not only a placemaking project to establish Pentwater as an art destination,” PAC secretary Judy Pazol said. Through the grant, PAC will be able to fund transportation for students to visit the installation and provide educational packets to the community. The award also supports sculpture installation costs and advertising. The project centers on Pentwater’s lake shore community. Visitors had the opportunity to vote for their favorite sculpture to win the ‘People’s Choice Award’ (pictured here). Popular installations can be sold to visitors or permanently placed within Pentwater. While currently slated as a three-year project, PAC and the Village of Pentwater have high hopes to expand the initiative.
Oceana County has 27 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline and 65 inland lakes, many swamps, and miles of rivers and streams. In addition to rescue and/or recovery of a person, the dive team of the Oceana County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) receives requests to dive for property or evidence used in an investigation. Through the Oceana Women Who Care and the Richard & Ryan Walsworth Memorial Fund, the Dive Team received over $23,000 to purchase a new specialized trailer, replacing an aged equipment van. Funding also paid for additional equipment and outfitting the trailer for efficient storage & organization for fast deployment in an emergency. The grant was facilitated through the Foundation’s Friends of the Oceana County Sheriff Office Fund, making it the largest public safety grant the Fund has ever awarded.
Oceana Women Who Care is a giving circle that has become an essential part of our area’s philanthropic community. Recognizing that as a group they can give significantly to propel a project forward, the dive trailer project became a reality at the March 2022 meeting when it won the vote! The Walsworth Fund’s significant contribution completed the funding needs and provided an opportunity to thank responders for their special caring to their family.
Another important program of the OCSO and supported by the Friend’s Fund is the annual Water Safety Days in Pentwater. While it is common to see the Sheriff’s Department patrolling the waterways, Lake Michigan can become dangerous to those unaware of water safety practices. Deputy Sheriff Tim Simon established this event to teach kids and their families the fundamentals of water safety. Since its creation, hundreds of children’s life jackets have been given away to participants. Safety Partners for 2022’s Water Safety Day included the Pentwater Police and Fire Department, Life EMS, Michigan DNR, Michigan State Police – Hart Post, and Safe Kids.