Holton Fire Chief retiring after more than 40 years

Posted at 9:14 PM, Dec 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-21 22:17:32-05

HOLTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- The Holton Township Fire Chief is stepping down after more than 40 years leading the department.

Chief Art Stevens says he's going to miss his role at the Holton Township Fire Department, which is a volunteer station that has had anywhere from 10 to 23 guys on call since he's been there.  He said it's hard to remember his first day there, but he does remember why he wanted to become a firefighter in the first place.

He started out at the Blue Lake Fire Department when he was only 18.

"It all started when I was 18 years old and I was standing out in the deck watching a fire across the lake -- it was burning and everything.  I looked at my brother and I said 'I gotta go,'" Stevens said.  "I helped with that and then I joined the fire department out there."

It wasn't too long after that that he went to the Holton Fire Department.  He became the chief at the age of 30.  His mission and vision for the department was making himself and his fellow firefighters the best they could be.

"I wanted to make sure our training levels were good," Stevens said.  "You didn't do as much training back then as you should have and the equipment that we wore wasn't what we got today to protect the people."

He said he's satisfied with the work he's done, but said leaving the people he works with won't be easy.

"Jobs come and go and stuff, but it's the people that make the jobs and give you the joy of going to work every day," Stevens said.

Stevens admits he won't be able to stay away from firefighters for fire departments for long.  He's already getting involved in canteen committees to send relief, like food and water, to firefighters that are trying to put out massive fires.

"It's not necessarily what you get out if it, but what you can give back to the community," Stevens said.