Photo courtesy of the city of Dearborn City officials recognize Dearborn CERT team members Thursday in the City Council Chambers.
By SHERRI KOLADE
DEARBORN — The head of a local emergency response team and hundreds of others received state and city recognition for doing something they are passionate about — volunteering.
At the start of the City Council’s Committee of the Whole meeting Thursday, the city acknowledged Dearborn Community Emergency Response Team Coordinator Capt. Bradley Smith and his 400-person CERT Team, named best CERT team in the state.
Smith said the awards, first presented to his members Dec. 7 at the State of Michigan Citizen Corps Conference, are an honor.
“It is something I have done since 2005 and it is great to have the state and the city recognize
that,” Smith said.
Michigan State Police State Preparedness Coordinator Wendy Galbreath presented the awards -including CERT Volunteers of the Year- to CERT Team members Dec. 7.
The free FEMA-sponsored program that began in California focuses on personal and community preparedness, Smith said.
“It is a life skill that will forever change your life,” he said.
CERT Team members hail from all over Wayne County, Washentaw, Oakland and Macomb County.
Several CERT Team members are active in teams from neighboring communities, assisting in the city’s Memorial Day Parade and other events.
CERT members complete 20 hours of training Fridays and weekends, Smith said.
City Council President Thomas Tafelski said he
is grateful for CERT Team members’ commitment.
“We appreciate your efforts and service to the community,” Tafelski said. “Congratulations on an excellent year, well done and well deserved.”
CERT Team member first responder Laurie Bigelow said she has been involved in the group for four years.
“I found out through a friend who was in a CERT training class and I joined it,” Bigelow said. “I feel great about being awarded today, it is wonderful. It is all volunteer work and they are recognizing that.”