Dowagiac churches, restaurant team up to thank firefighters

Published 11:19 am Monday, November 22, 2021

DOWAGIAC — Two churches and a restaurant recently teamed up to make sure local firefighters know how thankful the community is for the service the department provides to area residents.

The Dowagiac Hispanic Seventh-Day Adventist Church, 311 S. Lowe St., the Dowagiac Seventh-Day Adventist Church, 410 Hill St., and La Casa De Maria restaurant, 724 N. Front St., joined forces Wednesday, Nov. 17 to feed the Dowagiac Fire Department and present them with a plaque stating their appreciation for the service and sacrifice to the community.

From keeping the community safe to collecting Toys for Tots and hosting fundraisers, the Dowagiac Fire Department is rooted in helping the community. It can often be a thankless job, which is why it means so much when someone reaches out and says ‘thank you,’ according to Dowagiac Director of Public Safety Steve Grinnewald.

“We are extremely grateful to these groups for taking care of us,” he said. “We have the honor and privilege of serving this city and doing everything we can to keep everyone safe.  We don’t do this because we have to — we do it because we want to.”

Seventh Day Adventist Church member and Rotarian Walter Swann was invited to attend with the church. He said some of the firefighters had been with the department for many years and had never been honored with a dinner like that before.

“These groups came together to honor us and say thank you and that means the world to the men and women of the Dowagiac Fire Department,” Grinnewald said. “We are proud to not only serve this community but to be a part of this community. Dowagiac is a special place to us all and we thank the Seventh Day Adventist Churches and La Casa De Maria Restaurant for feeding us an amazing dinner.”

La Casa De Maria expressed its thanks again in a Facebook post, saying it was the staff’s honor, along with the churches, to recognize and feed the firefighters.

“It was wonderful seeing all their friendly faces,” the restaurant said in the post. “Thank you for all their hard work and time served. God bless them.”

Multiple firefighters commented on the post.

“Thank you for having us, we are all still talking about how great the food was,” said fire department lieutenant Tony Stewart. “We appreciated all of the kind words you had to say on our behalf also. These guys and gals needed this night more than ever. Thanks again to everyone who made this possible for us.”