Detroit Firemen’s Fund Association Has Launched Their Renovated Website

The Detroit Firemen’s Fund Association has been around for 147 years. Their mission is to help Detroit Firefighters, firefighters’ organizations and the community. You may recognize their latest project, The Michigan Fallen Firefighter’s Memorial Rig from the funeral of Wayne Westland Firefighter Brian Woelke.


Many people who know about The Fund don’t realize it is not run by City of Detroit or Detroit Fire Department management.   It is an independent association whose membership is made up of exclusively by Detroit Firefighters, and run by an elected Board of Trustees.

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This Surprised Us!

The originally thought was to mow a vacant lot, pick up debris, and board up a few vacant houses on a single block of Campbell Street.  What ended up happening surprised us.

It began when Detroit firefighters stationed in the area learned of a house being renovated by Nicole Curtis for her show Rehab Addict (which airs on HGTV and DIY Network). When you look at the area surrounding Nicole’s house you see a neighborhood that is still connected, still trying to hold on. Neighbors there know each other.  They do their best to keep grass mowed and debris out of vacant lots. This is a neighborhood that has not given up, a neighborhood that just needed a boost.


This is just one of the reasons we choose this neighborhood. Residents here are working hard to maintain a sense of community pride.

Detroit Firemen’s Fund and started spreading the word of the need for volunteers to help this southwest Detroit neighborhood.  Help came in so many ways.  Detroit and surrounding area firefighters, business that donated time and items, local media who helped highlight what items we needed, and most importantly, residents of the area came to help.

One of the best parts of this project was seeing young people from the area get involved.  Several local kids jumped in without prompting from adults.  They grabbed a pair of work gloves and started hauling brush to dumpsters.  Although I know the brush can get out of control, and grass can grow long again, I am confident that the positive impression made on these young people will not soon fade. 

We set out with the small goal of mowing a vacant lot and securing vacant houses on a single block, and together, we accomplished so much more than we had originally planned.

Overview of project accomplishments:

  • 15 Vacant houses secured
  • Smoke detectors installed
  • Entire block’s sidewalks edged & weeds removed
  • 4 vacant lots – removed debris & mowed
  • 5- 30 yard dumpsters of debris removed
  • Trimmed tree branches that could cause injury or damage in a storm
  • Community garden area restored – removed logs, debris & mowed so the garden can be expanded next year
  • Cut overgrown brush and trees from a corner lot making sidewalks useable again and improved visibility for vehicle traffic at the intersection.


Volunteers Overview:

The true heros of this project are our volunteers. Without the hard work and sweat equity they gave, nothing could have been accomplished.

Our volunteers included:

  • Over 40 Firefighters from:

Shelby Twp.
Imlay City

  • Local residents – including many children and young adults
  • People from several other comunities
  • Crews provided with specialized equipment from our donors.
  • Over 70 people total (we did not get the name of everyone involved,  so a true total is not available.  We think we were closer to 100 volunteers)


Donors Overview:
Donations of much needed items were provided by the following: 

If the opportunity arises to support the companies that have supported us, we ask you to please do so. Their selfless dedication to community service makes them stand out amongst their competition.


On our first day, Thursday, we tackled the yard and surrounding sidewalk of a vacant home at the corner of Horatio and Campbell.


The view as we began clearing overgrown brush. There’s a sidewalk in there, somewhere.

Brush and trees were so overgrown that the sidewalks were unusable. By the end of the day, a neighbor who lived on the

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Correction and More Information on Previous Posts

On Monday I attended the east side retirees’ breakfast and met a warm and inviting man named Wayne Isken. Wayne writes the Wayne’s Stuff articles you may have seen. His articles are geared toward stirring the memories of the department retirees with his “Do you remember….” questions, but for those of us who were not around during those days they hold a wealth of information about how things use to be. I strongly encourage you to take a look at his articles. They can be found at his website and on

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Proud Son, Proud Grandpa

Retired Lt. Doug Fox talks about his family history with the Detroit Fire Department.

The Detroit premier of BURN – One Year On the Front Lines of the Battle to Save Detroit is this Friday.  If you haven’t reserved your tickets for the screening or afterparty, time is running out!  Hope to see you there supporting the film. 


Have any interesting Detroit Firefighter photos?  We would like to add them to our website.  Email them to and we will share them here. 

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Tiller Training – an audio excerpt from Dave Grassi

Recording has begun and the list of people volunteering to be recorded is beginning to grow.    Next up –  Chief Charlie Towne!  Should be loads of fun.


Hope you enjoy this excerpt of an interview with Lt. Dave Grassi talking about the “extensive tiller training”  he received as a Trialman.  Click this link  Tiller Training – David Grassi to listen.

Photo by Brad Noyes.


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Aug. 8th 2012 – First Steps

Last week I attended the West Side Retirees Breakfast and Buck Gusoff’s Rib Cook-off to talk about the DFD Legacy project. 

I’m happy to say there are 9 people who have agreed to be recorded.  If you’re one of them, “Thank You!”  I will be calling to set up recording times soon.    If you want to be part of this project, go to the Be Recorded page to sign up.

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Our Website is Being Built

Some of this website is still under construction. 

It should be completed August 8th, 2012.  Sign up for email updates and we will notify you when it is completed. 

We look forward to your suggestions and comments when it is done. 

In the mean time, take a look around the site.  You’ll get the general idea of what we are up to. 

Thanks for stopping in.

Sheryl Jayson   (a.k.a. Sheryl Fox)