Local do-gooders give fire hydrants a fresh coat of paint

Madison Heights Men’s Club gives back to community

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published July 5, 2017

 Members of the Lessenger Daisy Girl Scouts, led by troop leader and City Council candidate Roslyn Grafstein, were among the volunteers working with the Madison Heights Men’s Club to repaint fire hydrants across the city.

Members of the Lessenger Daisy Girl Scouts, led by troop leader and City Council candidate Roslyn Grafstein, were among the volunteers working with the Madison Heights Men’s Club to repaint fire hydrants across the city.

Photo provided by Roslyn Grafstein

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MADISON HEIGHTS — More than 130 fire hydrants in Madison Heights were recently restored to peak visibility when the Madison Heights Men’s Club organized a group of volunteers to give the hydrants a fresh coat of paint.

The project started June 10. The city’s Department of Public Services (DPS) divided the city into 22 districts and listed the hydrants in each district that were most in need of painting.

Chris Molencupp, a committee member with the Madison Heights Men’s Club, contacted local Scout troops. Along with Madison Heights Mayor Brian Hartwell, a fellow club member, the two men posted a call for help on social media. Everyone who contacted them was given access to a Google Drive account with guidelines, an instructional video, maps of the districts and a sign-up sheet. Depending on the district, there were anywhere from two to 28 hydrants in need of painting.

“I let them choose the district that best fit them,” Molencupp said. “Brian Hartwell and I discussed it last year, using the Scouts to help fulfill their community service time and to help the city. A project like this can save the city thousands of dollars and instill community pride with residents.”

The Madison Heights Men’s Club itself had 10 members working on the project, along with their families. Others who worked on the project included members from Cub Scout Troop 1589, Boy Scout Troop 1589, Girl Scout Troop 70922, the Lessenger Daisy Girl Scouts, City Hall staff and some Madison Heights residents.

“Everything went pretty good,” Molencupp said. “I found myself rushing around to give out additional districts and supplies to the volunteers. The weather was a little hot, but helped the paint dry fast.”

The volunteers had to wire-brush off the chipped paint on each hydrant, wipe it down with rags, and then paint the body red and the end caps white.

“The hydrants look amazing with the new paint,” Molencupp said. “I find myself looking at all the hydrants when I drive through the city now.”

He said that the hydrants were looking “pretty bad” before — even the ones that were recently installed, which had a drab color scheme. Now that the hydrants have been repainted, city employees will go back and wrap reflective tape around them.

“The combination of the tape and paint will make them more visible, and also beautify the neighborhood,” Molencupp said.

The Madison Heights Men’s Club formed in 2012 with fathers who have kids at Lessenger Elementary School, and it currently has around 25 members who meet the third Thursday of every month at Madison Elementary School. The July and August meetings are on an as-needed basis due to summer vacations. More information can be found on the club’s Facebook page.

Last year, the group cleaned up and provided mulch to Civic Center Park, next to City Hall. The club also donated trees from Lowe’s and planted them at Gravel Park, which served as the catalyst for increased use of the park.

Every year, the club helps clean snow at all SMART bus stops. There are also members who assist with the “Mad Monday” park cleanups organized by the GFWC Madison Heights Intermediate Women’s Club. Club members have also assisted with sales setup at the Madison Heights Public Library and the Halloween party for children with special needs at the Venetian Club.

This fall, the club will be replacing all of the worn wood on the city’s park benches and tables. The club may also do more hydrant painting.

Then, on the Friday before Thanksgiving, the club will hold its annual fundraising dinner at the Venetian Club, which helps support scholarships awarded to students in the community.

“It’s a great group of men that want to help improve the community we work and live in,” Molencupp said. “Everyone is extremely busy with their family activities, but they still find time to show up and help out with all of our events.”

Jeff Dittenber, another Men’s Club member, said passion is what makes the group work.

“What’s great about the Men’s Club group is that everyone truly cares about the community and staying connected with people,” Dittenber said. “Most of us have very busy lives, but we all find ways to devote our time and efforts toward helping to improve the city and support those in need around us. Not only do we work toward this common goal, but we’ve also fostered some great friendships along the way.

“In the three years that I’ve been a member, I couldn’t be more pleased with how much good we’ve been able to accomplish for the city,” he said. “From fundraising to landscaping, we all feel proud to be able to support our neighbors and the city we call home.”

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