Local firefighters earn top positions
July 29, 2009TRI-CITY AREA — A pair of local firefighters have been elected to the top posts of the Lapeer County Fire Association's Executive Board.
Goodland Twp. Fire Chief Don Bissett and Almont Twp. Fire Chief Paul Wayco were named LCFA Chairman and Vice Chairman, respectively at last month's executive board elections, held once every two years.
Bissett, who joined the Goodland Twp. department in 1986, has been a firefighter for 23 years.
Climbing steadily through the ranks, he became Fire Captain of the Goodland department in 1989, Assistant Chief in 1994, and was appointed Fire Chief in 2005.
Over the years, he's earned accolades for his commitment to duty and dedication to the LCFA and firefighting community at large.
His honors include the Outstanding Leadership Award in 2000 and Firefighter of the Year Award in 2005, from his fellow Goodland Twp. firefighters.
His firefighting service has also included two years as a trustee for the Lapeer County Fire Association and he was Financial Secretary for the Michigan State Fire Association Conference, held in 2007 in Imlay City.
His public service includes five years on the Goodland Twp. Planning Committee, the Imlay City Knights of Columbus, 4-H, and involvement in the local Girl Scout and Boy Scout programs.
Alluding to his most recent LCFA selection, Bissett says he will do his best in the new role.
"It's an honor and a great responsibility," said Bissett. "I hope I can do the position justice. It may be a little overwhelming at first, but I look forward to the challenges of fulfilling my obligation to the Association.
"We've had some outstanding representatives from Lapeer County in the past," he said, "and I'll do my very best to honor them."
Bissett has been married 35 years to wife Gail. They have five children and five grandchildren, with another grandchild due in September.
Almont Twp. Fire Chief Paul Wayco has been a firefighter since 1972. After taking a personal respite from duty for several years, he returned in 1982, to become Almont's Assistant Fire Chief.
He was named Deputy Chief in 1999, and assumed the duties of Chief in January 2009, after the passing of longtime Almont Fire Chief Paul Wilcox.
Wayco is also the recipient of numerous awards from his peers in Lapeer County and across the state.
He has been recognized as an LCFA Officer of the Year, been the recipient of the coveted "Chief's Award," and served an earlier term as LCFA vice chairman.
Wayco has taken part in public education at Almont Community Schools, the Juvenile Fire Setters in 1979, a Lapeer County program begun by Paul Wilcox; and has taught baby-sitting and Latch Key programs through the American Red Cross.
Wayco said he is proud to represent the Lapeer County Fire Association, while serving the residents of Almont and Lapeer County.
"Serving the people is what drives firefighters to do what they do," said Wayco. "There is a strong camaraderie among firefighters. It's a huge commitment and takes ongoing training.
"I love doing this and have great respect for my fellow firefighters," he said. "We've been very fortunate in Almont to have had the financial support of the community. They've afforded us the opportunity to purchase state-of-the-art equipment and build a new fire hall. We all appreciate their support."
Wayco has been married to wife Robin for two years.