Village of Holly Celebrates New Fire Station
(Crystal A. Proxmire, Oct. 17, 2019)
Holly, MI – With bells and whistles (well, lights and sirens) to rival any grand opening, and a chain to cut instead of a ribbon, the firefighters of the Village of Holly invited the public into their new station at 414 N. Saginaw Street Saturday.
The event had emergency vehicles, a boune house, hot dogs, plastic fire hats for the kids, and a chance for members of the public to shoot the fire hose. But the real star of the day was the 1,200 square foot building that’s been renovated into the new Fire Department headquarters.
What was once a diesel truck and bus repair shop now has offices, a dispatch center, classroom space, a conference room, storage for supplies, a kitchen, and rooms for firefighters to hang out and nap between calls. Not that the resting rooms get as much use as the public thinks. Fire Chief Steve McGee explained. “When we’re not on runs, there is cleaning, training, and studying” for the 45 employees that make up the department.
And, for the past year and a half, there has been building. “Much of this work was done by the firefighters themselves,” he said.
In addition to his career in fire prevention and firefighting, McGee is a builder on the side. Being able to use his construction skills on a fire station that he hopes to run until retirement is a special honor for him. And the firefighters who continue to serve have pride in their place, as well as the Village’s pride and support for keeping the project at a lower cost than had all of the work been contracted out.
McGee became full time chief of the Holly Fire Department in July 2018 after working part time for both the Village of Holly and Groveland Township as Chief for both. His mother had been the first female fire chief in Michigan while serving Groveland Township, and at age 16 McGee followed in her footsteps by becoming an apprentice there. In the decades since, he worked his way up to Chief and stepped in when Holly needed leadership.
“Holly is a great community,” he said. “We’re like family.”
On his desk sits a book full of autographed dollar bills, and there are also some framed on the walls. “I like to make bets with people,” he said. He’ll bet people a dollar they can or can’t do something, or test their knowledge with a dollar reward. One of the wall was for a friend who had been concerned over passing a certification test on their first try. He bet them a dollar that they would do it. The friend passed and the dollar celebrating the loss of the bet (and the passing of the test), is memorialized in McGee’s collection.
The station has other memories adorning the shelves and walls, as well as a sign over the door leading to the truck bays so before every run firefighters and paramedics can see. “Because Nice Matters,” it says. The bulletin board echoes the sentiment of small-town service, with bold letters that say “Work Hard & Be Nice to People.”
The new station is located in Mid-town Holly, with a prominent place on the main road and more central access to homes and businesses. It also means that the old fire station 313 S. Broad Street is now available for sale as well, with information available here.
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