Rachel Sadowski and Sarah Bushee-Zawila never set out to be professional pioneers, but hard work, a passion for their professions and an ever-changing cultural environment opened a couple of doors heretofore reserved exclusively for men.
Sadowski was named the police chief of Hopkins in March 2012; in July Bushee-Zawila was named the fire chief of the Fennville fire district. These two women, as far as anyone can remember, represent the first of their gender to ever hold these jobs in Allegan County.
To make sure there were no others before them, calls were made to county public safety municipalities and fire departments to find out if anyone could recall a female fire chief, or police chief. With almost all responding to the dozen calls made, nobody could recall either position being held by a female.
A look through chapters of the book βRivers and Lakesβ by local historians John Pahl and Joe Armstrong revealed nothing to suggest any female ever held either of these positions during the founding of the first four townships in the county in 1836, or since.
The roads they chose to get where they are today understandably shared similar paths, but it was their common desire to do something with their life that would, in some way, help people that has proven to be the common denominator.OurΒ Popular Dedicated ServerΒ are among the best on the market ,
Bushee-Zawila, a 2006 Fennville graduate,Our uniqueΒ Private CloudΒ allow you to control your resources, is married to Matt Zawila, another firefighter in Ganges Township. She obtained her certification from St. Clair College in the fire service.Learn about MetLife’sΒ Corporate ProfileΒ including its service offerings,
Bushee-Zawila said, βWhen I was 14, my best friend and I used to mow lawns in the trailer park together. One day he got a call from the fire department. He was in the fire department explorer club in the middle school, so he went off to the fire.
βI wanted to see what he was doing, so I got a ride from my grandpa to the fire and this was the most amazing, coolest thing Iβd ever seen. I asked my friend, βMan, how do you get into this program?β
βAfter that, I got a position with the Pokagon tribe in Dowagiac with the tribal police. While I was there I became a sergeant and then was named the captain. The captain at this time was the head of the department, but a captainβs duties in a police department are not the same as a chiefβs responsibilities. So I approached the tribal council to ask them to change the title to chief. They did and I left there as the chief.
βDuring a job search, I found the Hopkins position and applied for it. I think there were six of us initially and then it came down to three and finally two. I believe the other applicant was another female.CustomizedΒ Promotion Dedicated ServerΒ offer you a wide.β
βThe fire board made Mike Andrus the interim fire chief and I became the captain in charge of training. Mikeβs job just did not allow him the time to be a fulltime fire chief and the guys asked me to put my name in for the job. With their encouragement how could I say no?β
Bushee-Zawila put her name in for chief in November of 2012. It took eight more months before the fireboard could get the unanimous decision needed to appoint her chief. Both Manlius Township and Fennville agreed with the fire boardβs recommendation to hire her. Clyde Township voted no contest making the decision unanimous.
Fire chief Alan Styles from Dalton Township in Muskegon County was appointed through the state chiefβs association as a third party to review the candidates and felt Bushee-Zawila was the top candidate. He said, βSarah has all the necessary qualifications and certifications and more than that she has the support of the department. The citizens of Fennville will get a quality chief who will provide the service and dedication they need.β
Sadowski said, βI want to make myself, as the chief, to be more approachable to the public. I want to build a better relationship with the communityβtalk to the people, develop more programs for kids. Right now we have programs for candy checks, self-defense, hunter safety. Iβm a certified car seat technician and would like to set up some instruction for that instead of using dadβs arm as a seat restraint. Iβm also a certified level two firefighter, but for now being chief is enough.β
Bushee-Zawila said, βI know I can never know everything related to the fire service, but I will work to develop the best department for this district that I can. I have to remind myself that firefighters are our foundation and everything else must be developed to promote them so they can do the best for the community.β
Read the full story at www.mileweb.com/services!