One of Marcus Vogel’s earliest memories was of the fire at Honegger’s Mill in 1990. He was three or four years old when the mill burned down in late October, and he had to go to the scene of the fire because his mother was absent and her father Gerard was a pleasant Mt Pompier.
“I was quite young,” Marcus said this week.
After about 10 to 15 minutes of watching — Vogel said almost the whole town turned out to be watching — he was picked up by his grandfather, Donald Welsh. Welsh, her mother’s father, had himself retired from firefighting about six years prior, capping a career that began in 1959.
Earlier this month, Marcus was introduced to the city commission by Department of Public Safety Director Paul Lauria as the city’s newest firefighter, the third in his family line to serve the city.
“I’m really excited for my son,” Gerard said Thursday. He joined the department in 1986, working part-time for a few years before joining the department full-time. He retired in 2019 as a sergeant.
Marcus said he knew since he was around 10 years old that he wanted to join the department. Growing up, he spent a lot of time around the fire station. Like his father and grandfather, he eventually wants to join the department full-time.
Currently, Marcus, a graduate of Mt. Pleasant High School in 2004, works for Bill’s Custom Fab, helping coordinate orders between customers and machine operators. He plans to start taking the courses — offered by the department — needed to join the department full-time.
Until then, he can still answer calls. He did it once, for a dryer fire in an apartment. He helped in a supporting role, but it felt good to work his first call.
“It almost felt like a team effort,” said Marcus, a man of few words.
It’s not terribly unusual for family members to go to work for the same department, said Doug Lobsinger, assistant fire chief for Mt. Pleasant. The department has had several sons and fathers, as well as nephews and in-laws.
In fact, Gérard was introduced to the department through his father-in-law. He met him through the woman he was dating, who would become his wife.
The department has a rule about family members working together. Gerard joined the department in 1984, the same year Welsh retired. Welsh died in 1992. Gerard retired in 2019.
“I didn’t have the pleasure of knowing (Marcus’) grandfather but I worked side by side
his father for many years,” Lobsinger said. “It’s great to see the passion, dedication and commitment of
firefighters pass from one generation to the next and I’m sure his grandfather would be very proud of him.
Marcus said the urge to join was still with him when his father retired, but finally this year when he saw a job offer for part-time firefighters, he finally took the plunge. . Six months of checks, tests, and exams later, he joined the Mt. Pleasant Fire Department.
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