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'The heart of the community': Muskegon Fire Department celebrates 150 years of service

The parade kicked off Saturday morning, followed by a luncheon for active duty and retired firefighters.

MUSKEGON, Mich. — The Muskegon Fire Department is celebrating a big milestone this September: 150 years of service.

The celebrations kick off Saturday with a community parade and a luncheon for both retired and active-duty firefighters.

While the events are to celebrate the sacrifices department members make, the firefighters say it's representative of how much the community supports them.

"The support from the city and the community has been awesome," Lieutenant Dan Duffy said. "The city has really stepped up and helped us basically put this on. The citizens, they are always very supportive of what we do. We're constantly thanked, and it goes a long way."

The Fire Barn is a historic Muskegon site representing the history of fire fighting in the community. Erin Schmitz with the Lakeshore Museum Center says this celebration is a good time to look back and see how far things have come.

 "Talking about the very first firefighting technology, which was a bucket that you'd have on your porch or in your kitchen and you'd hear the church bells ring and the whole community would work together to form a bucket brigade," Schmitz said. "Firefighting has been a community effort in the heart of the community."

Even though technology has changed, the heart of the matter is the same.

"You look at history, and it seems like so long ago, and then when you start really diving into history, it seems like there's really not that much time that's passed," Schmitz said. "Really seeing their heart, for the community through their stories."

The Fire Barn is joining in the celebrations by offering free admission to all firefighters, retired and active duty, through the month of September.

Many local businesses will have specials and themed items on the menu this month, with proceeds that give back to the department. You can find a full list of specials here.

Posted by Muskegon Professional Firefighters - IAFF Local 370 on Saturday, September 9, 2023

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