A view from 12 Mile Road in Madison Heights where it merges with Interstate 75 looking north toward 14 Mile Road March 31. A proposal at the state calls for the stretch of I-75 between 12 Mile and 14 Mile roads to be renamed in honor of Madison Heights Fire Capt. Jeffrey Brozich, who died while on duty.

A view from 12 Mile Road in Madison Heights where it merges with Interstate 75 looking north toward 14 Mile Road March 31. A proposal at the state calls for the stretch of I-75 between 12 Mile and 14 Mile roads to be renamed in honor of Madison Heights Fire Capt. Jeffrey Brozich, who died while on duty.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Proposal aims to rename part of I-75 in honor of late fire captain

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published April 5, 2021

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MADISON HEIGHTS — When Madison Heights Fire Capt. Jeffrey Brozich unexpectedly died last month, the community came together to pay their respects.

Now a proposal is making the rounds in the state Legislature to rename part of Interstate 75 in honor of the 20-year fire veteran.

State Rep. Jim Ellison, D-Royal Oak, introduced House Bill 4604 on March 25. The bill would amend Michigan’s Memorial Highway Act to add a section of I-75, between 12 Mile and 14 Mile roads in Madison Heights, to be named the Captain Jeffrey Brozich Memorial Highway.

“I got the idea to recognize Captain Brozich in this manner while I was attending the funeral and after speaking with his wife, friends and family,” Ellison said in an email. “Public safety officers, such as Fire Captain Jeffrey Brozich, have dedicated their lives to the communities they serve, and when the unfortunate event of their death occurs while they are on duty, it is a fitting tribute to honor them publicly for the sacrifice they have made for our public safety.”

Brozich died on March 1. He was 57. He was on duty at the station and had retired to his sleeping quarters just after midnight. When a 911 call came in that morning around 3:15 a.m., two firefighters went to retrieve him and found him deceased. The cause of death was not known at press time.

Brozich originally joined the Madison Heights Fire Department in December 2000. He was promoted to sergeant in 2014, lieutenant in 2016 and captain in 2019. He was a unit commander, responsible for all mandated state and federal incident reporting, management of pre-incident site surveys, and the training of probationary firefighters. He was married to Lindsay Brozich, a Madison Heights police officer.   

Among the people he left behind are his daughter, Brianna, 16, an aspiring nurse looking to attend college while taking care of her mother, Brozich’s ex-wife, who has breast cancer. To help with Brianna’s college tuition, a GoFundMe has been established at gofund.me/3448da0e.

Ellison explained that in order to rename the stretch of road, the Legislature would first need to approve the bill, and then the Michigan Department of Transportation would erect signage once private funds have been raised to pay for the cost and maintenance. The amount needed is $4,700. Ellison said he has received assurances from colleagues of Brozich, other city employees, and family and friends that the funds can be raised.

He said he was deeply moved by the sense of family at the Madison Heights Fire Department.

“While attending the funeral, I was incredibly struck by the closeness and the fraternity of firefighters and how tight they all are within their firehouse community. To see how comforting they were to Jeffrey’s family made it clear that the bonds between firefighters goes way deeper than most other professions,” Ellison said. “A lot was said at the funeral about Brozich’s love of family, and that he was a role model to others with how well he balanced his family and work life. I left there feeling very inspired and confident by the folks serving and protecting Madison Heights.

“It is my hope that, by dedicating this section of I-75, when motorists see the signs they will remember and honor the name — fire Capt. Jeffrey Brozich — for the sacrifice he made for the community,” Ellison said. “And, hopefully, it will prompt others to maybe go online and look up his name and the work he did, so they can develop a deeper respect for his legacy.”

Madison Heights Fire Chief Gregory Lelito thanked Ellison for his tribute.

“We are so grateful for Rep. Ellison proposing the renaming of I-75 through Madison Heights,” Lelito said. “Each day, tens of thousands of people travel this portion of I-75. They will see and read the memorial sign honoring Capt. Brozich’s life and never forget the 20 years of dedicated service he gave to the community.”

Madison Heights Mayor Roslyn Grafstein agreed.

“Naming a piece of the freeway that goes through Madison Heights after Capt. Brozich is a wonderful way to commemorate the memory of our fallen hero,” she said.

Madison Heights City Councilman Robert Corbett said it’s a kind and appropriate gesture.

“Capt. Brozich was a dedicated and talented firefighter,” Corbett said. “We are all very lucky to have had the captain protecting our residents, and he will be sorely missed. Rep. Ellison deserves our thanks for helping us recognize the fine work of the captain.”

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