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Besser Engineer Helps Upgrade Fire Trucks, Joins Fire Department Training

After responding to a downed power line at the Besser building in Alpena, training officer Jim Stachlewitz got to talking with Joshua Greenwell, a mechanical engineer at the facility. Conversation drifted into the direction of Greenwell telling Stachlewtiz that he would be happy to help the department with anything they needed.

This led Stachlewitz to tell Greenwell about their backboard on the truck, and not having a secure place to put it. Greenwell quickly got to work, building a mount to securely place the backboard.

“They said, ‘we can do that,’ so they came up with this mount here, so that it gets the backboard out of the way, kind of protects it, prior to that we were having to put the backboard on our hose bed, and any time we had to pull our hose bed off the truck, the backboard would come out, and it was not really a safe situation for us,” Stachlewitz said.

Greenwell also mentioned to Stachlewitz that he was interested in joining the fire department. He had been interested in making the move since he had gotten out of college, and found the time was right after the department came to Besser, where he has been working for the last two years.

“I’ve been wanting to join the fire department, I’d say, since I was about 24, just getting out of college,” Greenwell said. “It was a great ice breaker, Jim was very approachable, I ended up giving him a quick tour of our Baker plant just to see if there were any fire hazards we needed to be aware about in the future, and that led to asking about when the next academy was coming up, and it was perfect timing.”

Greenwell has since gotten set up with the academy, and although he joined late, still got the approval from the state to join the program. Greenwell worked with Stachlewitz off the clock to catch up. Stachlewitz spoke highly of Greenwell’s dedication.

“He’s shown quite an interest in the fire service in and of itself, and I look forward to working with him in the future,” Stachlewitz said.

Fire service is not completely unfamiliar to Greenwell. Both his grandfathers served as firefighters as well. He spoke about what it’s like to serve his community.

“It feels really good, I know that both my grandfathers would be very proud of me, and I know that my father is proud of me as well, so it’s a good feeling of self accomplishment,” he said.

Greenwell will graduate in May, and will be allowed to operate as a full time firefighter.