User Tools

Site Tools


2024 Year in Review

South Haven's Beach Flags are Flying

The summer season has arrived with the flying of the Lake Michigan Beach Safety Flags. The City of South Haven has seven public beach accesses to Lake Michigan. The popular North and South beaches also provide access to the pierheads. Access is also available from Packard Park, Woodman Street, Dyckman Avenue, Oak Street and Newcombe Street. To keep these beaches safe for everyone’s enjoyment the City of South Haven has created a water safety program that is administered between May 15th and September 15th.


Text 888777 BEACHES to receive regular updates throughout the summer.

South Haven Area Emergency Services Presents Awards

See photos from Annual Banquet –

A firefighter’s career of professionalism and service to the community is being recognized in multiple ways by South Haven Area Emergency Services (SHAES).

In recent weeks James (JD) Quinn was promoted to a Captain in the department and on May 4 he was named the department’s 2024 Firefighter of the Year. Pictured left with Chief Brandon Hinz. The recognition was given during the department’s annual banquet.

The Firefighter of the Year is determined by a vote of the membership.

“JD cares deeply about this organization,” said Chief Brandon Hinz. “He is deeply committed on a personal level and a skilled professional who is highly respected by his colleagues.’ Quinn joined SHAES in 2002, beginning as a paid-on-call member, transitioning to career in 2009. He was presented the department’s Leadership Award in 2019.

JD is part of a great family tradition in service to the South Haven community. His father, James A. Quinn, is a paid-on-call member and his twin brother, Paul, is also a career captain. His wife, Johanna, is a career member and a son, Shawn, serves in the paid-on-call ranks. In all, there are 12 active SHAES members who are part of the Quinn fire service tradition, ranging from cadets to officers to firefighters to retirees. James A. Quinn was honored as the Firefighter of the Year in 2018-19 and Paul was presented the award in 2009-10 and again in 2019-20.

The recipient of this year’s Leadership Award is Captain Ronald (Ron) Ridley. Ridley retired as a career member in 2023.He has since continued as a paid-on-call member, extending his service to the community to 45 years.

“Ron has set the leadership bar for this department,” said Hinz. “He has led by example. He will go down in the annals of SHAES as the most dedicated, hardest working employee, co-worker and friend that his organization has ever seen.”

This year’s banquet was dedicated to the SHAES governing board. In appreciation, the department presented badges to President Ross Stein, representing South Haven Township; Vice President Allan Overhiser, Casco Township; Secretary-Treasurer Nancy Whaley, Geneva Township; member Annie Brown, Mayor of City of South Haven; and member Kate Hosier, South Haven City Manager.

“These folks don’t get paid for attending our monthly meetings, a few for 28 years,” said Hinz. “They are as committed to serving our community as any member on the active roster.”

The department honored members for years of service – Ronald Ridley, 45 years; Paul Quinn, 30 years; Brandon Hinz, 25 years; Patrick Quinn and Timothy Quinn, 15 years; Johanna Quinn and Steven Cavadas, 10 years; and Aaron Sawyer, Amanda Quinn, Jacob Clemons, Phil Poole, Kevin Wildey and Zach Hanner, 5 years.

Several members were honored for professional achievements: Corey Capel, Fire Officer 1 and 2; Rex Haner, Fire Officer 2; Brian Horan, Jr., Fire Officer 3; Dawn Nyhof, Dive Rescue and EMT-B; Jacob Clemons and Will Cooper, Fire Officer; Kevin Wildey, Jessica Trinklein, Shawn Quinn and Jazmin Cortez, Paramedic.

A new certified Tech Rescue Team was created consisting of Dawn Nyhof, Rex Haner, Johanna Quinn, David Griessel, Ron Ridley, Zach Kenreich, Corey Capel, Paul Pant and Will Cooper.

Members of a new Cadets class are Ayden Quinn, Sam Rose and Lyla Quinn.

Joining the department as paid-on-call members were Dawn Nyhof, Shelby Forker, Jessica Trinklein and Brandon Brown. Joining the ranks as fulltime firefighters/paramedics were William Cooper, Paul Pant and Shyanne Foster. SHAES provides fire and emergency medical services to Casco, Geneva and South Haven Townships and the City of South Haven. In 2023 the department responded to a record 2,679 calls.

“Throughout the history of SHAES and the previous South Haven and Casco fire departments we have prided ourselves on compassionate care for our EMS patients, quick response and aggressive fire suppression,” said Hinz. “Our members have always gone the additional step, to do that extra…and it shows.”

JD Quinn Promoted to Rank of Captain

SHAES is pleased to announce the promotion of James (JD) Quinn to the rank of Captain.

JD has been a member of SHAES since 2002, beginning as a Paid on Call, transitioning to Career in 2009.

“He's been a dedicated involved member of SHAES for all these years,” said Chief Brandon Hinz.

SHAES Firefighter Brian Horan, Sr. Concludes Service

SHAES gratefully recognizes Brian Horan, Sr. on the occasion of his retirement as a paid-on-call member for a period that covered 27 years.

Brian joined the South Haven Fire Department in 1980 and later SHAES, rising to the rank of Lieutenant. He also achieved EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) status.

In recent years Brian has proudly served on SHAES with his son, Brian, Jr. We thank Brian for his committed service to our community.

SHAES Drone Team Plays Key Role in Rescue


The search for a lost child in Geneva Township had a happy ending on March 5. Various agencies, including SHAES, were dispatched to 68th Street north of Phoenix Road shortly after 4 p.m. It was reported that a three-year-old boy wandered away from the residence. About an hour into the search, drones operated by SHAES responders Steve Cavadas, Zach Kenreich and Drexal Haner spotted the child walking a distance from the residence in a field near a pond. The drones were approximately 100 feet aloft at the time. Simultaneously, a Van Buren Sheriff Department canine was tracking foot prints that led to the child. The child was returned to his home uninjured. Responding to the incident were the Van Buren Sheriff Department, South Haven Police Department, Michigan State Police and Great Lakes Drone.

SHAES Welcomes New Fulltime Members

SHAES is pleased to announce the appointment of two new fulltime Firefighter/Paramedics – Shyanne “Shy” Foster and Paul Pant.

Shy comes to SHAES from serving as a Paramedic with AMR Ambulance and a paid-on-call member of the Hamilton Fire Department.

Paul joins SHAES after serving as a Firefighter/Paramedic with the Covert Fire Department and previously as a paid-on-call member of the Sparta Fire Department.

SHAES Annual Report for 2023 Released


South Haven Area Emergency Services (SHAES) responded to a record number of calls during 2023, according to the department’s Annual Report.

Marking its 27th year, the SHAES Authority serves the city of South Haven and the townships of Casco, Geneva and South Haven. The department is comprised of 17 fulltime staff and 30 paid-on-call firefighters protecting 97 square miles of land and several miles of Lake Michigan shoreline from three stations.

For the tenth consecutive year, the number of calls has increased from the previous year to a record 2,679. The previous record, set in 2022, was 2,659.

“Our call volume continued to show increases in the medical area,” said executive director Brandon Hinz. “SHAES provides a service that is unique when compared to the typical fire department. Many sleepless nights, short meals, missed functions and understanding families are wrapped up in our response numbers.”

There were 1,951 calls on the medical side compared to 1,902 in 2022. Fire alarms decreased from 757 to 727. SHAES has responded to more than 2,000 calls in each of the past eleven years.

There were 1,115 calls in the city of South Haven followed by South Haven township 672, Geneva township 444 and Casco township 376. SHAES provided mutual aid to other fire departments and EMS agencies on 72 occasions.

Fire losses totaled $1,583,650 compared to $846,016 in 2022. Losses by governmental unit were Casco township, $739,700; South Haven township, $563,050; Geneva township, $273,400; and city of South Haven, $7,550.

“The minimal loss from fire ($7,550) within the city of South Haven is noteworthy,” said Hinz. “I’m sure that to a great degree our robust inspection efforts from a dedicated staff, combined with citizen awareness through ongoing education initiatives, can be attributed to that. It’s amazing.”

SHAES continued an active inspection program which made 1,432 contacts, including 810 short-term rental and 83 food vendor fire safety inspections during the year.

There were no civilian fire-related deaths in 2023. There were two incidents in which a responder was injured either at an emergency scene or other work-related occurrence.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) sets a benchmark goal of 9 minutes, 20 seconds for departments to respond to an incident. This is from the time of dispatch to the arrival on the scene of the incident by the first unit. SHAES during 2023 had an average response time of 5 minutes, 52 seconds. The average response time by unit of government: city of South Haven, 4:05; South Haven township, 5:12; Casco township, 7:05; Geneva township, 7:06.

The department is striving to improve its response times to rural areas by bolstering staffing at the SHAES stations in Geneva and Casco township.

Zach Kenreich was honored as Firefighter of the Year and the department's Leadership Award was presented to Phillip Quinn. The department added two full-time and three paid-on-call firefighters.

Department members presented the fire safety message to more than 1,500 kids at local schools and sponsored a successful public Fire Safety Fun Fair event. The department also participated in the first city-sponsored Touch-a-Truck event. The SHAES Honor Guard participated in impressive flag-raising events on Veterans Day at two elementary schools.

Scott Smith, who retired as mayor of the City of South Haven, was honored for his eight years as a SHAES board member. New city mayor Annie Brown was welcomed to the board.

SHAES Captain Ron Ridley Ends 45 Years of Community Service

When the call went out for additional help to staff the fire station during the recent winter-storm weekend, among the first to volunteer was off-duty South Haven Area Emergency Services (SHAES) responder Ron Ridley.

No surprise here.

Ridley has been doing that kind of selfless act for nearly half-a-century.

Later this month the 67-year-old SHAES Captain will conclude a 45-year career of service to the community. It started in his high school days in Casco township.

“The owner of the farm where I worked was a Casco volunteer fireman,” Ron remembers. “When the alarm sounded, I would join him on the fire call. I didn’t have fire gear, but I pulled a lot of hose.”

Ridley became an official member of the Casco department in 1979, rising through the ranks to Chief in the final months before Casco became part of the new South Haven Area Emergency Services (SHAES) Authority at age 40 in 1995.

“At the age that some are looking forward to an early retirement, Ron was just getting started,” observed SHAES Chief Brandon Hinz. “Over the span of 28 years as a dedicated member of SHAES, Ron has not slowed down, has not turned down a call, has not sloughed responsibility; he simply has not stopped or slowed down one bit.”

The former South Haven and Casco fire departments had experienced a contentious historic relationship over the years, but members like Ron worked hard to show that the newly configured SHAES Authority would benefit the citizens of the at-large community. Today the department operates from three stations, including one in Casco, with 40 full-time and paid-on-call members.

Ridley left a 20-year career as a machinist at Getman Manufacturing to join SHAES. He was promoted to Captain 2010. He is a two-time recipient of the department’s Firefighter of the Year award (2002 and 2019).

“Ron has been an inspiration to all of us in many, many ways,” said Hinz. “He is extremely humble, hardworking with a servant attitude, attributes we should all strive to emulate. We don’t want to see him go, he’s more than earned the right to spend some time with family and friends.”

Ron and his wife, Maxine, plan to spend time enjoying their children, Brian and Robin, and five grandchildren. Typical Ron, he says he intends to remain active in the fire service after enjoying some travel.


public/2024_review.txt · Last modified: 2024/05/20 00:43 by tomrenner