Local Fitstop24 donates exercise equipment to Dowagiac Fire Department

DOWAGIAC — The Dowagiac Fire Department received the gift of fitness Tuesday afternoon.

Gary Marshall, owner of the Niles and Dowagiac Fitstop24 locations, dropped of an elliptical and a stationary bike to the Dowagiac Fire Department for firefighters to utilize while at the station.

“Gary is a very generous man,” said Dowagiac Fire Department Lieutenant Anthony Stewart. “It’s so important for us to be able to stay in the best shape that we can. I spoke with Gary about purchasing equipment, and he stepped up and found some new equipment. It is very nice equipment that will benefit the department for years to come.”

According to Marshall, the equipment was donated to him by Niles resident Vin Man. Instead of incorporating the equipment into his gyms, Marshall, who has members of the fire department as customers, decided the equipment would be better served going to the fire department.

“This wasn’t about me,” Marshall said. “I want to thank Vin for the donation. I just happened to know where it needed to go. They do so much for us. It’s hard for them to find to go to the gym on top of all of the things they have to do.”

The DFD is a combination department consisting of both career and volunteer firefighters. It has been a busy year for the fire department, which recently set the record for the number of fire calls received in a calendar year at 317 calls, with just under two months to go.

According to Stewart, heart attacks and strokes are among the leading killers of firefighters. The equipment Marshall donated can help on-duty firefighters stay in shape.

“He really came through for us,” Stewart said. “He didn’t have to do it. We could not be happier. You have to be in decent shape for this line of work. We’re trying to get our guys more active, so what better time to start than now?”

Marshall hopes to continue to help the fire department going forward.

“We’re basically bringing them a gym little by little,” Marshall said. “The more fit they are, the better chance they have at being successful. We’re trying to take care of them because they take care of us.”

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