Belden honored for volunteering

OSCEOLA COUNTY— After years of volunteering his time to help the Emergency Management Department program, Dave Belden recently was honored for his efforts.

Belden, who serves as the Reed City assistant fire chief, was selected as the Michigan Emergency Management Association Volunteer of the Year in October. Each of the 110 Emergency Management Departments in the state had the opportunity to nominate an individual from the community who volunteered their time and efforts to help the department.

Belden was selected based on his volunteer work helping program radios for the Osceola County department and volunteering with the fire association.

“It’s amazing that they would consider me,” Belden said. “I greatly appreciate being considered for the award. I feel honored.”

Mark Watkins, Osceola County Director of Emergency Management, nominated Belden for his efforts to use his skills and equipment to help the county.

“Over the last several years, we’ve replaced a lot of our public safety radios and Dave has volunteered to use his own equipment to program them so we don’t have to have independent contractors do it,” Watkins said. “He saved the county thousands of dollars.

“He has decided to go above and beyond his duties as assistant chief. He’s been contributing in this way for a number of years, but this year somebody outside the community recognized (his efforts).”

Belden is the seventh Osceola County recipient to receive the state award in the past 10 years. Watkins attributes the success to the large percentage of volunteer support, coordinated by EMD worker Jeff Weber.

“Every year we nominate somebody as volunteer of the year,” Watkins said. “Probably 50 percent of our force is volunteers, and we had a list of about 10 very qualified individuals.”

The EMD volunteer teams include the Community Emergency Response Team, Fire Corps program, Medical Reserve Corps, volunteers in police service, Emergency Management Support Team and others.