‘23 Firefighter of the Year named; Former Chief feted


IMLAY CITY — The Imlay City Fire Department took time out to honor their own last month at their annual awards banquet.

Sunday, January 14th the Imlay City Fire Department members and their families gathered at Strikes Bowling Center in Imlay City for their annual holiday and awards banquet.

Several ICFD retirees were also in attendance.

Introductions were made by the new Fire Chief, Keith Klobucar, and his wife Kim. Most of the family members and retirees had not met Keith and Kim prior to the get together.

The history of firefighting runs deep in the Ross Family. Craig Ross, a 30-year veteran of the Imlay City Fire Department, was honored for his years of dedication. In the above photo is Ross, his son, Joe, who is also an Imlay City firefighter, grandsons Alex and baby Rowan, along with IC Fire Chief Keith Klobucar.

Recently, retired Fire Chief Rick Horton, who stepped down from his position late last year, was recognized and presented with several pieces of memorabilia accumulated during his 27 years of service for Imlay City.

Chief Klobucar said some of the highlights of what were presented to former Chief Horton included a large, personalized wall plaque, his Chief’s badge, and a gift card. Horton served area fire departments for over four decades.

The 2023 “Firefighter of the Year” award recipient was nominated and voted on by the Imlay City firefighters and fire officers with the winner being announced at the banquet.

The award is presented to a fire department member for their outstanding service, years of service, and contributions to the fire department.

This year’s recipient is Firefighter Craig Ross, a 30-year veteran with the Imlay City Fire Department, serving in numerous officers’ positions, including Fire Chief.

Chief Klobucar said, “Craig is an outstanding choice for this honor and award. We wish to congratulate Craig on this well-deserved award for all his achievements, dedication, and leadership that he gives to the department.”

The late Dean Asselin, a member of the fire department, was remembered and posthumously honored.

Danielle, his daughter, and a past member of the fire department herself, was in attendance to accept a collection of articles, pictures, and memorabilia for Dean.

Members of the department gathered a collection of items from Dean’s time while on the department and assembled the items into a memorial shadow box, presenting it to his daughter.

The afternoon of dinner, awards, celebration, sharing memories and bowling was well attended by the department members, their families, and retirees.

Chief Klobucar, a former member of the Dryden Township Fire Department, said, “A huge thank you goes out to the fire department members who organized this annual event. We’d also like to thank Brian Hill and his staff at I.C . Strikes for their support and hospitality.”

Since Chief Klobucar took over the department, three new people have joined, or are in the process of joining the department, giving them a roster of 17 fire fighting personnel.