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Caniff salutes a 20 year veteran firefighter who goes above to support his community

Posted: 2:32 PM, Jun 18, 2018
Updated: 2018-06-18 14:32:07-04

Here is our winning entry:

Cary Thompson is 19 ½ year veteran with the Royal Oak Fire Department, where he has attained the rank of Sergeant.

He has been involved with the community throughout his career, dating back to the year 2000.

He started several community involvement programs including: Royal Oak Firefighters’ Walk to School (2000), Royal Oak Firefighters Safety Town (2001), Story Time with Sparky (2004) and Breakfast with Champions (2005). T

he Royal Oak Firefighters Walk to School is held on the first Tuesday of October. It is the oldest walk and the largest walk to school in the state. It has been featured on the news and on PBS.

Over 500 people walk to school with community leaders and the mascots of all of the professional sports teams.

The Royal Oak Firefighters’ Safety Town is a program that he brought to Royal Oak to teach children about every facet of personal safety. It was a huge success.

In fact, when Beaumont Hospital needed a public education component for their trauma certification, he developed a program for them called Safety City USA (2005-2016). It was the first year round injury prevention program of its kind in Michigan.

The program was designed for the young and old alike to prevent death and injury. It is the first year round educational facility of its type in Michigan.

Through that facility, he taught several hundred home health care nurses about fire and fall prevention, for their patients.

He has also taught thousands of other people on the same topics.

Story Time with Sparky is a simple program that he developed, where he reads to preschool children with Sparky the Dalmatian. Sparky is a firefighter in a costume.

Story Time is held every quarter and it is one of the Royal Oak Library’s most successful programs. It still fills up after fourteen years of its delivery.

Breakfast with Champions is a program that he developed to involve the senior populations, and to teach them about fire and fall prevention.

He teaches fire prevention in the schools, churches, scout troops, and anywhere else that he or his department has been requested.

He is a cancer survivor. He did not let that stop him. He even turned that into something positive. He teaches other firefighters about cancer prevention.

He goes anywhere that he can, to make sure that no other firefighter is stricken with this disease.

It is his passion.

He teaches cancer prevention at Eastern Michigan’s Fire Staff & Command School, to chiefs and senior firefighters from departments across the state. He wants to provide the information to every department in the state, and I am sure he will find a way.

He also teaches and mentors high school students at the William D. Ford Technical Career Center, in the Wayne-Westland School District. It is his way of giving back.

He tries to encourage the students to be the very best that they can be.

He also writes grants that have helped other police, fire departments and non-profits obtain grant funding. He has helped both the Detroit Police and Detroit Fire Departments obtain grant funding.

He and his grant writing partner Karen Brown have helped Detroit to obtain approximately $100,000,000 in grant funding, for just this one city and the Detroit Public Safety Foundation.

He considers this the highlight of his career.

Detroit was the largest city ever to declare bankruptcy, and grants helped Detroit at their greatest time of need. Grants helped them navigate equipment purchases and employee costs at a time that they greatly needed them.

He has helped Hamtramck, Inkster and so many other cities that I could not possibly list them all here.

His grants for other cities have numbered in the tens of millions. His grants have helped over 500 firefighters to continue working through Safer Grants.

His grants have helped probably thousands of firefighters with safety equipment to keep them safe, and countless communities from all over the region.

He works day and night to make sure that any department that requests his help, gets the help that they need.

I have seen him stay up for days on end, trying to help out as many departments as he can.

He does not do these things for recognition, and he would prefer to stay behind the scenes.

However, I think that he does so many awesome things behind the scene, that I thought I should nominate him.

Thank you for your consideration.