Sauble-Elk-Eden Fire Department dedicates new hall

ELK TOWNSHIP — With a great sense of pride, community members, area township officials and local fire and public safety departments came together to celebrate the new state-of-the art fire department for Sauble-Elk-Eden Fire Department in a ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday, Sept. 3.

For decades, SEE Fire department had two fire stations, one near Sauble Township Hall, and one in Irons. The new double-five bay hall, with the capability of storing 10 apparatus, now brings everything to a central location in Elk Township, on five acres of land donated by Judy West Charnes, on behalf of her late husband, Joe Charnes.

Fire and township officials expressed thanks to everyone who brought this project of the new, central fire station, six years in the making, to completion. 

"The journey to complete this project was very eventful, and has been a long time coming," SEE Fire Chief Greg Bombich said. "Without the community support during the entire process, as a chief I don't know what I would have done."

Bombich gave special recognition to architect Kendra Thompson, of Manistee, for her diligence in designing the new station and working hand-in-hand with her staff and electrical and mechanical professionals. He also recognized Gerber Construction for building the station. 

Lou Fitz, supervisor of Elk Township, who also serves on the SEE Fire Department Support Committee, addressed the public. 

"People who I'd like to recognize is the chief. He has led this committee, this group, this community to make this all happen. Without his leadership, the community wouldn't have been behind this project. The voters overwhelmingly approved a $2.63 million project, and the reason our voters had confidence in voting yes is our chief and firefighters that stand behind him," Fitz said. "We have a great fire department and the best equipment anywhere around and now we have the best fire station, so chief, congratulations on bringing this all together." 

Fitz also gave a shout out to Gary Nugent, chair of the SEE Joint Building Authority and Fire Board Committee.   

"Gary, you're doing an outstanding job, not only as JBA chair, but also the fire board chair,” he said. “Township officials from all three townships have been very supportive. I don't know how many times we had documents to sign, but we got this all done. Townships, thank you. The JBA, composed of a representative from each of the three townships — Gary Nugent, Dep. Chief Joe Boyer, as clerk and Jack Puff, treasurer — these three gentlemen have worked countless hours and they did that on a volunteer basis. 

"We can't forget campaign workers who knocked on doors and convinced voters this was a project worth doing,” he continued. “Voters and residents, we have to thank you also. You supported us in a time of need, and we needed this. Again, we thank our firefighters - the best people anywhere in the world."

Sauble Township Supervisor MaryAnn Nugent and Eden Township Clerk Barbara Charnes also expressed thanks and appreciation to those who worked on the project, as well as the voters. 

Bombich then cut the ribbon to the new station, and visitors were encouraged to check out the building and enjoy some refreshments.