Long-time fire chief Roland Brooks passes away at age 82.

December 21, 2020

Roland Brooks

Long-time fire chief Roland Brooks passes away at age 82.

‘He was probably the most dedicated person in all of Oceana County.’

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.

GRANT TOWNSHIP — Grant Township Fire Chief Roland Brooks, 82, died Sunday afternoon, Dec. 20, at Mercy Health Partners in Muskegon.

Brooks served as fire chief for 40 years and had been on the fire department for 56 years, said Grant Township Assistant Fire Chief Dan Yost, who will serve as acting chief until a permanent chief is appointed.

“Three weeks ago, Chief Brooks fell ill and was hospitalized shortly thereafter,” states a press release from the fire department.

A memorial service will happen next spring “at the earliest,” said Yost, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The department will hold a chief’s honor procession at that time.

The Grant Township Fire Department has been hit hard in the last month after firefighter Michael Buitendorp died of a medical condition while in the line of duty, Nov. 18.

Brooks is survived by his wife, Joan, four children, five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

“His years of dedication are just phenomenal,” said Yost. “He went on every call. He was probably the most dedicated person in all of Oceana County. It’s a big loss for Grant Township.”

Brooks, who retired from Howmet, served in many different functions for emergency services in Oceana County, said Yost. He also served on Grant Township Rescue and was a long-time member of the Old Newsies/Goodfellows charitable organization.

Roland Brooks, at left, on scene of a house fire.
– OCP file photo

“He was a great chief,” said Yost. “I’m glad that I have been able to learn from him as assistant chief.

Even though Brooks could sometimes come across as “gruff, he liked to joke and laugh.

“He would give you the shirt off his back,” he said. “He would drop everything to help.”

Many of the younger firefighters looked up to him as a father figure.

“Roland was pillar of the community,” said Oceana County Sheriff Craig Mast. “We all knew that he was a friend of the sheriff’s office and Oceana County. We’re going to miss his expertise and experience. Our condolences go out to his family and friends. He was just a good guy.”

The fire department will vote on a new chief in February, said Yost.


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