Howard Township Fire Department sells Christmas trees to raise Fire Association funds

HOWARD TOWNSHIP — For more than a decade, those looking to find the perfect Christmas tree have been able to visit the Howard Township Fire Department to make their purchase.

This year, the tradition has continued. For each tree purchased, customers will be helping to support firefighters.

John “Tony” Collmer, an associate firefighter for Howard Township, said the trees are ready to find a home.

“We have got a whole bunch of different kinds of trees,” Collmer said. “We are not very expensive on the trees. We run the whole gamut of prices.”

The Christmas trees will be sold from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday to Friday and noon to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, at the Howard Township Fire Department, 2681 Detroit Road. There are 36 trees remaining for sale. Prices depend on the size and variety but can range from $10 to about $50.

The most popular tree variety sold has been the Fraser Fir and only one remained as of Wednesday afternoon. Collmer said a number of people also request small, but scrappy “Charlie Brown-style” Christmas trees. Foliage scraps are also available and free to those looking to craft wreaths.

Proceeds from the tree sales, after expenses, benefit the Fire Association. Howard Township firefighters use the funds from the association to help purchase new equipment. Some of the money is also used to purchase children’s learning materials and firefighter hats, which are passed out at community events.

Since the tradition began, Collmer said the tree sales have helped to raise more than $10,000 for the Fire Association.

Collmer has served the Howard Township Fire Department since 2003. Since then, Dave Mattiford, a Howard Township firefighter, said Collmer has been pivotal in the yearly tree sales.

“Tony makes this happen,” Mattiford said. “He gets the whole thing scheduled.”

Every year, Collmer travels four hours to get to a farm in Kalkaska, Michigan to pick up the trees. Kenny Smith, owner of Kenneth Smith, Inc., a local business, offers a truck and a driver free of charge to assist with the project.

For those still looking for a tree, Collmer encouraged them to check out the fire department’s selection of trees.

“It’s a source of income for the fire association,” Collmer said. “We give back to the community with the kids’ stuff, helping the township purchase items that may not be on their radar.”

Those interested in learning more about the Howard Township Fire Department can visit their Facebook page or call the fire department at (269) 683-3199.

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