ALPENA - Alpena Township Fire Department Capt. Bob Kaszubowski was named the recipient of the Thunder Bay Area Firefighter Association's Lifetime Achievement Award. The Thunder Bay Area Firefighters Association includes 14 departments from Alpena, Alcona, Montmorency and Presque Isle counties. Kaszubowski was nominated by his fellow firefighters for his constant dedication to the department.
"It was really an honor to get this award," Kaszubowski said. "It's nice to know the things you do over the years aren't forgotten. I was surprised and honored."
Township Supervisor Marie Twite highlighted just a few of the ways Kaszubowski had helped to improve the department in a letter she wrote to the selection committee.
"Almost immediately after being hired he started talking with young people to choose this way of life and how gratifying being a firefighter would be," Twite wrote. "He has brought several firefighters to our department and has worked diligently to initiate our internship program."
Kaszubowski has been a driving force for improvements within the department for over 20 years, and was instrumental in making sure fire suppression always was available for Alpena residents, and took the lead in providing medical services for the township. He has fought for what he thought was right for the community and the residents of Alpena Township, she said.
Along with being a dedicated firefighter, Kaszubowski also showed a drive to help others outside of work by being a leader in the Fill the Boot Drive for the Muscular Dystrophy Association each year, and working with the public school system to hold bottle drives at the southside fire house.
"This was a wonderful award for him," Twite said. "Bob has been instrumental in wanting to make changes for the department and as a result, the department has excelled. He really loves his job. He has worked closely with other firefighters to make the department better, and we're very happy about him receiving this award."
Besides fighting fires and answering medical calls, Kaszubowski has been battling his own fight with cancer, and is continuing the fight with an abundance of support from his family, friends, co-workers and the community while still working as a firefighter for the township. Recently he was awarded Firefighter of the Year for Alpena Township, and said he is honored to be recognized within the community and the association.
"Through the years I didn't realize all the things I had been involved in until they started reading things off," Kaszubowski said. "It was a big surprise when they called my name. What's really rewarding for me is working with my fellow firefighters. It's rewarding to help people, and the biggest reward is when everyone gets home safe at the end of the day."
Kaszubowski's wife, Bobbi Sue, said he makes her proud all the time with everything he does at the department and every day, and she was excited for him to receive the association's lifetime achievement award.
Nicole Grulke can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5687. Follow Nicole on Twitter @ng_alpenanews.