Clinton Township Fire Department helps out Habitat for Humanity, local homeowner

By: Sarah Cormier | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published October 5, 2011

 Clinton Township Fire Lt. Jeff Yaroch peeled shingles off of a rotted roof while Deputy Fire Chief Ronald Glashauser put on new shingles.

Clinton Township Fire Lt. Jeff Yaroch peeled shingles off of a rotted roof while Deputy Fire Chief Ronald Glashauser put on new shingles.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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CLINTON TOWNSHIP — What’s the difference between a firefighter and a roofer?

Apparently not much if they work for the Clinton Township Fire Department.

Recently, some Clinton Township firefighters teamed up with Macomb County Habitat for Humanity to help install a new roof on a home located on Stepnitz Drive.

Karan Bates-Gasior, program manager for Macomb County Habitat for Humanity, said neighbors called the organization in July to tell them they thought the couple living in the home, who are strapped for cash, could use a new roof. She said soon after, Clinton Township officials also called to report that the roof had leaks in it and asked if the organization could help out.

Gasior agreed that Habitat for Humanity could do the project. She found someone to donate shingles and asked if Clinton Township officials would dedicate two of their dress-down fundraising Fridays to the cause.

All they needed now was someone who could help install the roof, which is very steep. After some thought, Bates-Gasior called the Clinton Township Fire Department and proposed the idea of firefighters doing the work.

“It’s a two-story house and it’s a steep house, and they don’t mind going up on ladders,” she laughed.

Bates-Gasior said not only are firefighters used to being high up because of what the firefighting job entails, but many of them also do construction work on the side because their schedules allow for it.

“There was some danger involved in it, and you needed some skill involved,” said Clinton Township Fire Chief Jack Shea of why the department agreed to take part in the project. “It was just something that we had the skill to do, and we wanted to jump in and provide the labor.”

So on both Sept. 15 and Sept. 22, firefighters went over to the home and put on a new roof. Shea said that about 10 people in the department — eight on the first day and five on the second day —participated altogether. He said the first day was spent tearing the old roof off, and on the second, the group put the new shingles down.

Shea said the roof was indeed steep and a section of the home’s structure under the roof had to be reframed.

“As roofs go, it was a very challenging roof,” he said, adding that the project was well worth the effort.

“This was an opportunity for really the Fire Department employees here to give back to a member in our own community,” he said.

Mary Ann Hosey, administrative aide to the Clinton Township Board of Trustees, said that for several years the township has been having dress-down Fridays, for which every week a charity is picked and employees can contribute to the cause for $5 in exchange for the ability to wear jeans to work.

Although Bates-Gasior was able to get the shingles donated, there was still about $500 in expenses that Macomb County Habitat for Humanity had to pay for. The roof cost $4,000.

So city employees decided this would be the perfect cause to donate to.

“We try to do a lot of very local things, because we like to help out the local community, and this happens to be one of them,” said Hosey. “It’s nice because the firefighters are doing the work and our employees are supplying the funds for the materials, and that’s a great thing. “
 

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