“He was a friend to everyone; always smiling”


Kip Reaves, who served on the Imlay City fire department for 13 years as Chief and 28 years total in the fire business, battled health issues and passed away last week.

IMLAY CITY — When it came to doing the task at hand, perhaps no one took things more serious than Kip Reaves.

The former, long-time Fire Chief of the Imlay City Fire Department passed away last week, after battling health issues for the past few years.

“He was a great man and a good mentor for me personally,” said Keith Redlin of the Marlette Fire Department who worked with Reaves over the years.

Former Lapeer Fire & Rescue Chief Terry Kluge said Reaves always had a smile for you.

“He was a friend to everyone; always smiling,” Kluge said. “He was a huge help to me when I first started in this area back in 1996 and was always involved in everything. He served as secretary of the Lapeer County Fire Association forever. Just a great guy that I really appreciated.”

Don Standel, former Chief of the Mussey Twp. Fire Department said he could recall, “many hours of sitting with Kip and having coffee at his station and discussing all things fire. He was a knowledgeable man when it came to firefighting.”

Reaves served with the Imlay City Fire Department for 28 years. his last 13 years were served as Fire Chief.

Walt Bargen, who was Mayor at the time Reaves served as Chief and who spoke when Reaves won Citizen of the Year in 2014, said at the time, “Not only is Kip dedicated to the firefighting family, he has shown a dedication, understanding and commitment to the community,” Bargen said.

“This is not just a citizen of the year award, but a recognition of all firefighters and their importance in the community,” Bargen stated.

According to an issue of the Tri-City Times dated January 15, 2015, Reaves was a member of the Imlay City High School Class of 1970 and retired in 2002, after 31 years with the Chrysler Corporation.

He began his career in public safety in 1976 as a part time firefighter with the Arcadia Twp. department.

In 1980, Reaves graduated from the police academy and took on a part time position as a reserve officer with the Lapeer County Sheriff’s Office and the Almont Police Department. He joined the Imlay City Fire Department in 1986 and earned independent training officer status in 1999. In 2002, Reaves was named Fire Chief.

Former Imlay City Fire Chief Rick Horton, who worked under Reaves as the Assistant Chief, said, “without question Kip was first and foremost a great guy and an outstanding firefighter. Top notch. I had the deepest respect for him. He left me big shoes to fill when he retired, and I took over as Chief. He was a heck of a mentor to me, and just a great guy to work for.”

Reaves is credited with upgrading the department’s training and equipment, and increasing camaraderie and morale in the department as a whole, during his tenure.

He retired from his post as Chief in December of 2014.