On June 13, Macomb Township firefighter Joe Warne, seen here preparing for his 140-mile walk to Grand Rapids to raise money for firefighters with cancer, received a call from Mike Boila, Bob Seger’s publishing director, with the news that Seger and Chevy Trucks are matching $13,680 that was raised for the Neighbors United firefighters with cancer walk.

On June 13, Macomb Township firefighter Joe Warne, seen here preparing for his 140-mile walk to Grand Rapids to raise money for firefighters with cancer, received a call from Mike Boila, Bob Seger’s publishing director, with the news that Seger and Chevy Trucks are matching $13,680 that was raised for the Neighbors United firefighters with cancer walk.

File photo by Brandy Baker


Bob Seger, Chevy Trucks match funds for Neighbors United

By: Alex Szwarc | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published June 24, 2019

MACOMB TOWNSHIP — As if completing a 140-mile walk in firefighter gear wasn’t enough, Joe Warne received more good news June 13.

That’s when he got a call from Mike Boila, Bob Seger’s publishing director, with the news that Seger and Chevy Trucks are matching the $13,680 raised during the Neighbors United walk for firefighters with cancer.

“The call was very shocking and emotional,” said  Warne, a Macomb Township firefighter. “I was at work and wasn’t expecting it. I heard Bob Seger and thought someone was messing with me.”

Warne, the president of Neighbors United, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping individuals and families who are down on their luck, said the money raised will be matched through Workers Charitable Trust, another organization that helps those in need.

“That’s one of Seger’s organizations.” Warne said. “Seger saw all the news coverage of what we were doing and felt compelled to do something to give back to the community. He fell in love with the story and what we were doing.”

Boila said Seger, the 74-year-old Michigan native, heard about what Warne was doing through Jim O’Brien, of 94.7 WCSX-FM.

“Bob is typically very private with respect to whatever he does for charity,” Boila said. “He doesn’t normally do stuff to bring attention to himself. It made sense to give to Neighbors United.”

A couple of weeks ago, Warne departed from Macomb Township on foot, en route to Grand Rapids, where he arrived June 8.

Warne said he’s always listened to and enjoyed Seger’s music.

“I’ve always heard he’s a really good guy and community-oriented since he’s from Metro Detroit,” Warne said.

Warne said having a well-known public figure match funds for Neighbors United helped boost its Facebook page.

“We started to get more and more likes as the day went on,” Warne said. “It’s really amazing to help the organization and seeing what we’re doing in the community.”

A 2004 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Seger is on his “Roll Me Away: The Final Tour” and recently performed six shows at DTE Energy Music Theatre, formerly known as Pine Knob. His June 21 concert was Seger’s 33rd show at the outdoor venue.

Boila, who’s been on Seger’s team for 31 years, said the Workers Charitable Trust was created by Seger and his longtime manager, Punch Andrews.

Warne said that what he learned about people from the 140-mile walk is that there’s “tons of good going on in the world.”

He said that the journey had every emotion wrapped up in it.

“It was emotional, inspirational and you got to see the best in everybody,” Warne said.

Total funds raised for Neighbors United, around $30,000, will be distributed by September.

“We’re hoping to give 15 firefighters $2,000 each,” Warne said.