Harrison Township Supervisor Ken Verkest swears in the new fire chief, Dave Bostater, Nov. 25 at Station No. 2 on Jefferson Avenue.

Harrison Township Supervisor Ken Verkest swears in the new fire chief, Dave Bostater, Nov. 25 at Station No. 2 on Jefferson Avenue.

Photo by Deb Jacques

New Harrison Township fire chief sworn in

By: Nick Mordowanec | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published November 27, 2019


HARRISON TOWNSHIP — Dave Bostater wants to “keep the wheels going ’round and ’round.”

Bostater was sworn in as Harrison Township’s new fire chief Nov. 25 at Station No. 2 on Jefferson Avenue. He replaces former Chief Michael Lopez, who retired in February to pursue a teaching career.

The new chief is a transplant from the Livonia Fire Department, where he spent 25 years and 10 months and retired as a battalion chief.

He lives in Port Huron with his wife, Bridget, and their two sons. He was joined at the swearing-in by his mother, Sharon; sister, Sandy; and stepfather, Bill. Bridget pinned his badge.

“It means a lot to me,” Bostater told a gathered group while standing in front of one of the fire trucks. “I’m not about pomp and circumstance. Without Bridget’s love, support and sacrifice, I wouldn’t be standing here today. She’s always been a rock for me; she’s been there through thick and thin.”

He said all Harrison Township residents “should be very proud” of all members of Local 1737 for creating and wanting to continue a progressive department that means being open to all types of new “cutting-edge” technology, as well as evolving service and training models.

Bostater was the first in his family to enter the fire service. In doing so, he found out about the culture and it changed his perspective.

“I found that the fire department is your second family,” he told everyone. “People are really blessed to have that second family, to have that support. We spend 24-hour shifts together, and it really impacts your life.”

Township Supervisor Ken Verkest, who swore in Bostater, was technically the acting fire chief during the nine-month period between Lopez’s retirement and Bostater coming on board.

Verkest primarily played an administrative role, while three battalion chiefs took on additional leadership and were further guided by Paula Phillis, a department secretary.

“Everybody really played a big role,” Verkest said of what he deemed “a lengthy process.”

EMPCO, a Michigan-based company, was hired to conduct testing services and assessments of the candidates. The assessments contained situations and exercises that called for prioritization and quick reactions in emergency reactions.

Bostater scored about 94% on his assessment, Verkest said, which was the highest. Originally, there were 13 total internal and external candidates. That number was whittled down to seven due to some not meeting necessary qualifications, with Bostater ultimately being chosen by the Board of Trustees among five remaining candidates.

“Harrison Township was appealing to me because it felt like home,” the new chief later stated. “I grew up in a waterfront community, in Port Huron, and when I came here it felt very similar to me.

“It’s a great community, a very progressive fire department. Local 1737 firefighters have an excellent track record and history. For those reasons, I thought I could be on a great team and have an impact.”

Bostater’s annual salary will be $108,550.