SWARTZ CREEK (WJRT) (9/3/2019) - "June 3, 1971, Chief Edward Pavlica was our first line of duty death for our department. He was on his way to a house fire and was riding on the side of a truck when the truck rolled over on top of him," Swartz Creek Area Fire Chief Dave Plumb explained.
The building the Swartz Creek Area firefighters work out of is named in his honor.
The conference room inside holds Chief Engineer Chris Hilden's name. He died November 5, 1989 of a heart attack, while responding to a structure fire.
"Great man, knew everything you could imagine about the fire service, the fire trucks," Plumb said. "So you know, a lot was lost that day when we lost him."
As he has for the last 23 years, the Chief will join their families, and the families of 10 Flint firefighters who also died in the line of duty, at the memorial honoring their sacrifice. It's this Saturday at 10 a.m. at Flint Memorial Park.
"You don't want to ever let their memory fade, especially for their families," he explained. "You don't ever want to let them think that we forgot them and that they're passing was for nothing."
But Chief Plumb said, the appreciation for the 12's extraordinary efforts is beginning to dwindle. He took to Facebook last week to share his disappointment, explaining less and less people show up each year.
"I probably have 18 of my firefighters going to this year's event and we'll continue to do that as long as I'm fire chief," he said.
Chief Plumb knows everyone has a number of items on the to-do list every weekend; but he's hopeful, you'll add Saturday's memorial to your list.
"The little that our firefighters receive, they don't do it for the pay, they don't do it for the compensation, they do it because they feel the need to serve," he added. "And, giving back to the families and letting them know that you appreciate what they've done over the years, or what they sacrificed, that's what's important to me."