LAPEER, Mich. – Saturday May 19th, four members from the White Pigeon Fire Department in St. Joseph County were presented the 2018 Heroes Award by the Michigan State Firemen’s Association at the 143rd Annual Conference dinner and banquet in Lapeer.
Fire Chief Troy Andrews (with 19 years of service), Lieutenant Jeff Wagaman (with 14 years of service), Firefighter Thomas Law (with 14 years of service), and Fire Cadet Merlin Zehr (with 1 year of service) were recognized for their heroic efforts from a rescue which occurred on January 27, 2018, when a 54-year old man fell through thin ice while fishing. Upon arrival, White Pigeon firefighters noticed the fisherman was in frigid water holding on to the edge of the ice shelf.
White Pigeon firefighters worked together as a team following the Incident Command System and utilizing their frequent training to execute this rescue. Chief Andrews donned the department’s ice and cold water rescue suit, climbed into the water and rescued the hypothermic fisherman.
“These men have it in their heart to serve their community,” said Assistant Chief Tyler Royce, who nominated his brother firefighters for the Heroes Award. “They dedicate countless hours of their own time preparing our department to respond to and mitigate the next emergency,” said Royce.
White Pigeon Fire is a WOTV 4 Women Operation Save A Life department. Firefighters provide free smoke alarms and community risk reduction messaging to residents in need.