Craig Sidelinger Posthumously Honored as The Washtenaw 100’s Firefighter of the Year,

ANN ARBOR – A year ago this week, when Craig Sidelinger passed away from colon cancer, he left a legacy as a proud Ann Arbor firefighter and a loving family man that continues to be celebrated.

Last May, the Ann Arbor Fire Department dedicated its new firefighters’ training facility at the W.R. Wheeler Service Center to the memory of Craig.

Then, on Oct. 22, The Washtenaw 100 – a regional charity that supports police and firefighting professionals, their families, and their departments – posthumously honored Craig as 2021’s Firefighter of the Year at their Annual Dinner at Travis Pointe Country Club.

This recognition was for a firefighting professional that Ann Arbor Fire Chief Mike Kennedy described as “a real change agent” and “an all-around fantastic guy.”

Craig Sidelinger joined the Ann Arbor FD in March 2000. He became the department’s Training Officer in July 2010 and served in that role with excellence for over a decade, before his battle with cancer forced his disability retirement in November 2020.

Craig’s influence was felt both within the Ann Arbor FD and outside of it. During his career, he worked with the Washtenaw County Hazardous Material Response Team and Swift Water Rescue Team. He was key in earning the Ann Arbor FD’s upgrade to basic life support status while serving as the department’s liaison with the Washtenaw/Livingston Medical Control Authority and Michigan Medicine.

As the department’s Training Officer, Craig ensured that all Ann Arbor firefighters maintained EMT certification, along with the department’s state licensing. Chief Kennedy said that Craig was key in obtaining five training trailers that continue to be used, not only by Ann Arbor firefighting crews, but throughout the county as well.

Craig’s public outreach work included Safety Town, Ann Arbor Ready, and the City Citizen’s Academy. For many years, he was the Ann Arbor FD’s representative in the University of Michigan’s Emergency Operations Center for Wolverines football games, interacting with emergency response agencies from across Washtenaw County.

Craig Sidelinger was taken from us far too soon. Yet his impact is lasting.

About The Washtenaw 100

In September 1971, a small group of Ann Arbor-area community leaders formed The Washtenaw 100, a nonprofit charitable organization dedicated to providing financial assistance to the families of police officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty.

Over the years, The Washtenaw 100 has expanded its mission to also include: college scholarships for children of police and firefighting professionals; grants to police and fire departments for needed safety equipment and training; and annual awards to the county’s most distinguished law enforcement officers and firefighters.

Originally, The Washtenaw 100 operated anonymously. Membership was by private invitation only, it was limited to approximately 100 members (hence the name), and the organization sought no public recognition for its efforts.

Today, The Washtenaw 100 invites all in the community to join. Members’ annual fees and individual donations enable the organization to continue supporting our area’s sworn uniformed officers and their families, who give bravely and selflessly for the safety and security of the community.

In the past five decades, The Washtenaw 100 has provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in needed assistance to the area’s public safety officers and their departments.

The Washtenaw 100 is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization exempt from federal tax. Members’ annual fees and donations may be tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

More information is available from The Washtenaw 100 at P.O. Box 1204, Ann Arbor, MI 48104. Email: info@washtenaw100.org. Web: www.washtenaw.org.

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