levinOn August 20th, United States Senator Carl Levin joined as at the firehouse to mark the 100th Anniversary of the Hamtramck Fire Department.  Senator Levin, who has served as one Michigan’s two elected Senators since 1979 is not seeking re-election and will retire at the end of this term, presented us with a beautifully framed copy of the Congressional Record from July 15, 2014 where he recognized our service and commitment since 1914.

Senator Levin’s letter reads:

Recognizing the 100th Anniversary of the Hamtramck Fire Department
Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Mr. President, our nation’s first responders are in many ways our everyday heroes. Always ready when we need them most, they risk their lives to ensure our safety. To do this, they spend long hours away from their families on grueling shifts, and make countless other sacrifices. For the last century, the Hamtramck Fire Department has been a part of this distinguished tradition.

The Hamtramck Fire Department was established in its current form in 1914, but the department’s roots run deeper. The Hamtramck Spouters, the first organized firefighting unit in the area, was founded in February 1857. From its inception, the department has sought to improve with each passing year, which has led to many advances, including updated technology, lowered response times and fewer fires through prevention efforts. The department has served Hamtramck citizens with distinction, even as tough economic times have made the job harder. Their mission to protect the residents of Hamtramck is as vital today as it was 100 years ago.

Today, the fire department tackles a heavy load, making more than 3,100 runs each year. In the process, they have saved countless lives and property, often at great personal risk. Their courageous service is remarkable, and their reputation within the community is impeccable.

The Hamtramck Fire Department also has sought to make an impact in the community outside of the Fire Hall. From organizing park cleanups, to buying uniforms for Hamtramck High School’s women’s basketball team, the fire department has provided valuable services to the community.

Just this year, the fire department won a fireworks display for the city in the national Red, White & You contest. They were chosen from a group of more than 2,500 entries. Because of their efforts, the city hosted its first Fourth of July fireworks display in more than three decades. Announcing the fireworks display, Fire Chief Paul Wilk noted, “We are a very diverse city that’s fallen on hard times—we need a boost like this.”

The pride in their city and sense of service the department displayed in their application to the Red, White & You contest bears repeating. Firefighter John Dropchuck, who has been with the department for 15 years, wrote, “Cultural diversity and a strong blue collar work ethic make up the backbone of our town. There is no better representation of the pursuit of the ‘American Dream’ than Hamtramck…The Hamtramck Fire Department is entering this contest on behalf of our residents, who we feel deserve this celebration.” The commitment of Hamtramck’s firefighters to going above and beyond for their city and its citizens is an example for all of us.

On May 3, 2014, the Hamtramck Fire Department celebrated its 100th anniversary with the annual St. Florian March and Mass. It was a fitting way to mark this historic milestone, giving the community an opportunity to offer their thanks. On July 5, the celebrations continued with an impressive fireworks display, another opportunity to come together in fellowship and thanksgiving.

We owe our nation’s firefighters and first responders a huge debt of gratitude. Their bravery and willingness to serve provides families across Michigan with a measure of security. I know my colleagues join me in congratulating the Hamtramck Fire Department on a century of service and a job well done. They are a wonderful example of public service, and I wish them much success as they continue their mission to protect the public.

Thank you, Senator Levin – congrats on your years of service, happy retirement!