“One day I’ll be that little old man, and when I am I hope my neighbors come when I call.”

IMG_0125 copyWorld Book Night 2013

It may have been cold and rainy last night, April 23, but inside the Bear Lake Township Fire Hall, friends, relatives and neighbors came together to say ‘thank you’ to the first responders, EMT’s and Cadets of our local home town Fire Department.

Thanks to World Book Night America, we gave a copy of Michael Perry’s wonderful Population 485 to every one  of them!

Bear Lake Fire Chief, Sean Adams, was one of the local ‘readers’ for the Fire House Book Party, and introduced the evening. Mike Perry sent a summary of what the book, and this evening’s event, has meant to him which echoed Sean’s sentiment – that when tragedy, heartache or just plain craziness strikes, how nice it is that the person who shows up in your driveway is a friend and neighbor.

Four selections from Population 485 (subtitled Meeting Your Neighbors One Siren At A Time) were read aloud:
Jabowski’s Corner: everyone there recognized the story. It may have been about a real event in small New Auburn Wisconsin – but here in Manistee County it’s known as Gable’s Corners. And with High School Graduation just around the corner, the story of love and tragedy struck home.
Tricky: in contrast, first responders often are met with utter chaos and just plain crazy people, often the result of staying a little too long at the bar! As the story reads, they train and plan but when the actual situation presents itself it can take on the feeling of being in a reality TV show!
Structure Fire: what is it really like to fight a fire in the middle of an ice storm in the middle of a Michigan winter? What is it like to know you’ve just left your brother in the basement of a burning house? And when the rush and rock ‘n roll of the adrenalin fix has dissipated – the reality of rolling back to the fire hall for 3 hours of cleaning, stacking and repacking!!

Call: the evening ended with Mike Perry’s voice reading about what it means to find yourself ‘deeply rooted in a place’ and how life in a small town comes with challenges and perks! Such as the right to borrow the community sewer rod! And what it’s like for the 24 folks on Bear Lake Township Fire Department to live life ‘on call’ 24/7 with the pager clipped to their hips night and day.

It was an amazing evening, and if you missed it we hope you read Population 485 – this is what we live here for, a sense of shared community, neighbors helping neighbors, and coming to your aid when you call.

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World Book Night Readers: Left To Right
Glenn Zaring and Larry Gibson (Bear Lake CERT), Sean Adams (BLTFD Fire Chief), Michelle Traux (Assistant Fire Chief), Corkey Best (Bear Lake Township Supervisor)
Thank you BLTFD First Responders and Cadets! From the bottom of our hearts!
Thank you BLTFD First Responders and Cadets! From the bottom of our hearts!

Support West VFD

It is with a heavy heart that Bear Lake Township Fire And EMS asks for your support of the decimated West VFD in Texas.

The State Firemen’s & Fire Marshals’ Association of Texas reports:
4/19 9:30am – We have received information from our representatives on site that West VFD has lost 3 vehicles (2 Engines and 1 Tender) in the explosion.

4/19 8am – We are now hearing that there is a total of 11 firefighters who died in the line of duty in the West, TX explosion. (4 of the firefighters were serving in an EMS capacity). Also, 11 firefighters in the hospital. Basically, the West VFD is without 2/3 or their members at this point.

4/19 – People interested in donating to go toward helping the West VFD please click the here and indicate “WEST VFD Relief Fund” in your donation comments. 100% of your donation will go back to the West VFD. For General Donations just indicate “VFD Assistance”. Your Donations are 100% tax deductible and goes to our 501c3 organization.

World Book Night – Bear Lake Fire House Book Party!


Bear Lake Fire House World Book Night Party!!

“We are in trouble down here. There is blood in the dirt. We have made our call for help. Now we look to the sky….”

On April 23, 2013 Bear Lake, in Manistee County, will be a host site for World Book Night!

Selections from Michael Perry’s “Population 485” will be read by local people and copies of the book will be given to Bear Lake Township Fire Department First Responders in grateful appreciation of the irreplaceable gift they give to their home town community.

World Book Night U.S. is dedicated to spreading the love of reading, person to person.

On April 23, at 7pm at the Bear Lake Fire Hall (located on US31 Downtown Bear Lake)  you’re invited for popcorn, cookies, coffee and readings from Population 485 by Michael Perry.

Volunteer book givers are vital to World Book Night U.S. Last year on April 23rd, they personally handed out a total of half a million books in 5,800 towns and cities across the country! They became part of an international effort to celebrate reading on one special night by sharing their love of books within their communities.

Why is World Book Night important? Why does World Book Night exist?
Simply put, books are fun, books invite us to think – and they can be life-changing.

Population 485 is especially relevant to Bear Lake this year as a group of local people have banded together to raise both an appreciation for the selfless generosity of local First Responders and also funds to pay for a Special Millage Election aimed at replacing their aging 1978 fire truck.

“When these folks leave their homes, their families and jobs, at a moments notice, to come to our aid – they deserve a decent vehicle to get in to!,” says Friends Of Bear Lake Township Fire Department Chair Larry Gibson.

The FOBLTFD group formed just before Christmas and its purpose is to get information to Bear Lake Township residents about the age and condition of the current fleet of vehicles, support the Fire Chief’s schedule for upgrades, and help fund a Special Election on August 6.

“It’s important to note just how little this will actually cost the average property owner,” says Dendra Best FOBLTFD Treasurer. ” I looked at our Property Tax notice and did the math – I could rely on a new fire truck coming out to my home for just $23 a YEAR! Now THAT’s insurance!”

“For most of us it will amount to less than a cup of coffee a week” says Committee Secretary Nicole Sanderson, “look for yourself on our web site fobltfd.com

“No one wants to hear the word ‘tax’,” says Vice Chair CG Schindler, “but this is just a way to say thank you to all our friends and neighbors who put themselves in harms way from the moment they get that turn out call. If you want to know what that really entails then please come and listen to these stories.”

Just what that turn out call can bring is the subject of Michael Perry’s first book “Population 485” – the true story about his return to his home town of New Auburn, WI, population 485, as a registered nurse and finds himself volunteering for the local fire department.

The sub title of the book is “meeting your neighbors one siren at a time” and relates the real stories, heartbreaking and hilarious of serving on a volunteer rural fire department.

“It could just as well be titled Bear Lake Michigan” says Bear Lake Fire Chief Sean Adams, “Like New Auburn we rely on the generosity of our neighbors and friends and it’s heart warming to see the support we’re getting. All of our First Responders are local people. We live and work here and we care about our neighbors. Having our community support new, updated equipment means a lot to us, and will definitely make our job much safer and more cost efficient. But ultimately, and what means more by far, is that we will be able to better serve our friends and neighbors to keep them safe – which is why we all signed up for this job in the first place!”

The author himself, Mike Perry, sent his personal congratulations and best wishes to the folks in Bear Lake so be sure to come out and be ready to laugh, cry and hear about real life experiences of working on a small town rural fire and EMS department.

Reference http://www.us.worldbooknight.org/books/2013/item/421-population-485

2013 Bear Lake Days Arts and Crafts Fair – registration Information

Date:         Saturday, July 13, 2013, one day only during Bear Lake Days
Time:         9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Setup time is 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.
Place:     Outside, on Main Street (mostly pavement)
Space Fee:   For Artists & Crafters $25.00 and for Food Vendors $50.00 for a 12 ft x 12 ft. space with a limit of 2 exhibitors per booth.  No electricity is available.
Notice:     Each exhibitor is responsible for his/her own exhibit and is expected to stay for the entire day. Be in attendance at all times. Bring your own tables, chairs, awnings, etc.

craftfair2013thClick here to download the Application Form.