Deb Malewski 
Contributing Writer

The Eaton Rapids Fire Department (ERFD) is sponsoring a mug fundraiser. They have obtained a unique, limited-edition mug to represent the men and women of ERFD. They are being sold with all proceeds going directly to the firefighters.
The stoneware tankard mug is fire engine red, with a “burnt” look glazed at the top, perfect for the fire department theme. It was created by Daneen Pottery out of St. Paul, Minnesota. It is hand-thrown, meaning that no two are exactly alike. It will hold 16 ounces of a hot or cold beverage and can go into the dishwasher. A detailed ERFD emblem is on the mug and acknowledges the almost 150 years of service that the department has been in existence. “Protecting the Island City” is boldly featured on the emblem.
“We have a lot of ‘coffee mug junkies’ who really love the mug,” ERFD Lt. Jeremy Milam explained. “This company makes mugs for various coffee companies and they’re really nice.”
“We also plan on having a 150th ERFD anniversary mug made by them in 2024,” Milam added. The Eaton Rapids fire department was established in 1874 by L.A. Bently and Frank Culley, the latter who was its first engineer, after some devastating fires destroyed much of the downtown. The first engine house was located on the west bank of the Grand River on the north side of East Knight Street, behind the current location of Quality Dairy. The first fire engine was purchased that fall at a cost of $5250.
Only 200 mugs are available and when those are gone, they’re gone. They’re selling fast, Milam said. After only a week of sales, they have approximately 80 left.
“We see people at their worst and we’re here to support them at their time of need,” Milam said. “So, we’re super thrilled that the community supports and approves of us and are purchasing these mugs,” he added.
The proceeds will be used to pay for things that come up over the year, Milam explained, like equipment they want over and above what the City provides, or to fund special events they might hold.
Eaton Rapids Fire Department has 19 part-time firefighters on call. In the past, they have done other fundraisers, like a kayak raffle, but the mug was chosen as it’s something that’s versatile and can be used all year. It’s also a nice collectible representing the ERFD.
For more information about purchasing an ERFD mug contact, or any member of the fire department, or visit their Facebook page eatonrapidsfire.