Thursday, March 30, 2023

Off duty

16-year career captain retires from department

Northville Township Fire Department Capt. Dan Dipple has retired
from the department after 26 years of service. He said he
will pursue a career in the non-profit sector. 
Northville Township Fire Department Capt. Dan Dipple may be saying goodbye to firefighting but his commitment to helping others will continue. 

After 26 years of running into burning buildings, Dipple hung up his fire helmet and retired March 24. He said he will be pursuing a career in the non-profit sector. 

Dipple said helping people is his passion and he has been able to do that during his  entire career, joining the Northville Township Fire Department in 1997. He first served as firefighter/EMT, then lieutenant and is retiring with the rank of captain.

Dipple's contributions span nearly every department function, officials said, and whether he was teaching a CPR class or ensuring first responders had access to mental health resources after a stressful critical incident, Dipple stepped forward to make a difference . 

“I feel grateful and privileged to have had such a great career here,” Dipple said. 

Many Northville Township residents have a special place in his heart, he added. One memorable encounter occurred in the early 2000s, when the department was looking to add the first automated external defibrillator (AED). 

“An 8-year-old resident, Chris Ponder, walked into the fire station with a brief case and wanted to set up a kids fun run to help us raise money to get the AED,” he said. “We loved his excitement and wanted to help him with his passion project. We also encouraged him to raise the money for other kids in need. That fun run raised $3,000. He donated it to the University of Michigan Trauma Burn Center and Northville Youth Assistance,” Dipple recalled.

This began a lifelong friendship with Ponder, then a Winchester Elementary student. “He's stopped by through the years, even while he was in college,” Dipple explained. 

“These are the special types of relationships we have with residents,” he added. 

Another special friendship he will greatly miss is with his fellow firefighters/paramedics. “It's a great bond that goes on here at the station,” he said. “We've stood up in each other's weddings, we've gone to family funerals, we attend games together, grab breakfast together. When you spend 24-hour shifts together, you become close.” 

Because of those relationships, Dipple said he will be a regular in department extra-curricular activities, including golf outings, hockey games and the Northville Township Firefighters Charity Fund, of which he is one of the founding members. The group raises money for such causes as Northville Civic Concern, the Make-a-Wish Foundation and Great Lakes Burn Camp. Dipple has filled a leadership role in the organization, serving as a director since 2014. 

Dipple also was once Coach Dipple when he coached hockey at Northville High School for eight years. He said he hung up his skates to be more involved with the activities of his two daughters, ages 18 and 16. He looks forward to spending even more time with them, he said. 

He is ready for a new challenge now. 

“I fell in love with firefighting at the academy,” he said. “It's an active job and you have to think on your feet. I'm looking forward to helping others in a new capacity.”