Winter Storm Watch issued for West Michigan for Sunday

Kalamazoo brewery raising funds for memorial for fallen fire chief

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Brian Steele remembers Fire Chief Ed Switalski to be a man who was full of life and spirit. He and his wife Holly frequented his bar prior to his death.

“They enjoyed our Christmas celebrations here,” said Steele during an interview at the Boatyard Brewing Company on Porter Street. “He was just a person who loved life. He loved his family and he loved working for the fire department.”

Comstock Township Fire Chief Ed Switalski

Chief Ed, as everyone called him, was killed on June 14, 2017 while he was tending to the scene of crash on I-94. Since then, different local organizations and businesses, including his own, have been raising money to build a memorial in his honor.

“Now our roll is to make sure the memorial gets done,” said Steele. “We take it all very personally here that it’s going to get done by the anniversary of his passing.”

Last week, Steele created a GoFundMe page with the goal of raising $20,000 for the memorial. He said a bronze statue is going to be erected with a garden surrounding it. It’ll stand in Comstock Park where he worked.

“We hope everyone contributes,” Steele said. “We just happen to be a brewery.”

Steele said the fundraiser is being sent to fire stations throughout the country, including the one in Illinois where Chief Ed worked for years. It's already raised $1,000. He's hoping that over the next few week, 1000 people can donate $20 to reach the goal well before his anniversary arrives.

“This man gave his life on I-94. He could’ve been trying to help my wife, my daughter, my grandkids and he was unfortunately killed doing that," said Steele. "I want to make sure that we always pay homage to all those that protect us on those cold snowy winter nights or those hard-driving rains on a June evening."

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.