‘Few Serving Many’ - Chief is proud of his department and community it serves

Ted Wendling, Contributing Writer

Photo by Ted Wendling

Scott Tinker, fire chief for the Fife Lake Springfield Fire Department, is proud to show off the department's new $300,000 pumper.


FIFE LAKE – The motto of the all-volunteer Fife Lake Springfield Fire Department is “Few Serving Many,” and the poignancy of those words were seared into fire chief Scott Tinker’s memory on Jan. 15, 2019.

That evening, a fire broke out at the Fife Lake home of one of his own, firefighter Ken Martin. While fire personnel from Tinker’s department and several other area departments were trying to extinguish the inferno, a larger fire broke out at the historic Dingman’s Bar in nearby Kalkaska, forcing Tinker to release some of the firefighters who were battling the blaze at Martin’s home to help get the Dingman’s fire under control.

Unfortunately, by the next morning, both structures had burned to the ground.

“We say that we’re few serving many because there are few volunteers in the community who are willing to put in the time and effort to work for the community,” Tinker said.

Debbie Rodriguez, the zoning administrator for Fife Lake Township, said Fife Lake is fortunate to have such a dedicated group of volunteers.

“Those guys do an awesome job,” Rodriguez said, crediting the department’s EMS personnel for their prompt response when her mother was ailing.

“The morning she passed (away), they were top-notch. Very compassionate and caring. I can’t say enough about them,” she stated.

It was a little over a year ago that trustees in Fife Lake and Springfield townships withdrew from the Grand Traverse Rural Fire Department – effectively disbanding Rural Fire – and decided to form their own department. The Fife Lake Springfield Fire Department currently also provides fire protection for Union Township. With a staff of 20 volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel, it covers an area spanning 107 square miles and about 4,500 residents in the three townships.

Fife Lake Township Supervisor Linda Forwerck, who also is co-chair of the Fife Lake Area Emergency Services Board, said Fife Lake made the difficult decision to withdraw from Rural Fire after seeing several larger townships leave the collective. She said trustees in the larger townships believed they were paying a disproportionate share of Rural Fire’s funding. Forwerck said their departures had a cascading effect, causing smaller townships such as Fife Lake to also pull out.

“It was a long, hard process,” she said.

Read the full story in our regular edition of The Review. To subscribe to the paper for just $34 a year, which includes access to our full online e-edition, please go to the subscription page on this website at: http://www.antrimreview.net/subscribe/




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