Community holds benefit for longtime Paw Paw firefighter battling cancer

Posted at 8:58 PM, May 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-14 01:34:50-04

PAW PAW, Mich. — A community in Van Buren County came together to raise money for one of their own on Saturday. Dan Young has lived in Paw Paw his entire life and has spent 27 years as a volunteer fire fighter.

People who know Young say he's a humble man. They say he's not one to ever complain or ask for favors. Even while battling cancer, he still attends every firefighter meeting in Paw Paw. On Saturday, loved ones gave back to a man who has given so much to them.

"I'm really surprised that this many people turned out," said Young. "It's nice that they did and I'm glad that they did."

Young has been a volunteer firefighter in Paw Paw for 37 years. A few years ago he was diagnosed with lung cancer. Recently, the cancer has spread to his spine.

"It's been really hard because seeing your dad sick when he's been so independent his whole life," said Crystal Shanley, Young's daughter. "Wanting help and not being able to do things for himself has been really difficult."

Young's community hosted a benefit for him complete with a spaghetti dinner, silent auction and raffle to raise money for medical expenses.

"I didn't know I had this many friends or people that knew me," said Young.

Despite being sick, young still makes it to every meeting for the department.

"He still participates and shows that he's one of the older members down there and he's still passionate about it," said Sam Carlsen, Paw Paw fire chief. "History is huge with us too."

A dedicated volunteer, his coworkers say Young represents what it means to be a Paw Paw firefighter.

"People are here for the passion of firefighting and not just to get paid as a normal job would be," said Carlsen. "Dan shows that and he passes it along to everybody else."

"I would've never expected so many people to come out and show their support," said Shanley. "There's so many people here that I don't even know that came here to support him."

The goal from the benefit was to raise at least $3,000 to help with medical expenses. Young is currently being treated from home and says his health is getting better everyday.