Fire board names Dietrich new chairperson

Graafschap Fire Department also thanks former leader for 13 years of service.
The Graafschap Fire Department Board meets on Thursday, May 30, 2024, at the Graafschap Fire Department, 4534 60th St. From left are Fillmore Township representative Bob Yonker, Laketown Township representative Jim Johnson, Fire Chief Doug DenBleyker, Laketown Township representative and fire board Chairperson Patrick Dietrich and Captain Dave Grumney. Not present is Fillmore Township representative Tim Hofman.

The Graafschap Fire Department Fire Board has a new chairperson.

Patrick Dietrich was unanimously elected to the position at the Thursday, May 30, 2024, meeting at the fire station, 4534 60th St.

“I’m looking forward to working with the men and women of the Graafschap Fire Department so we can continue to serve the residents of Laketown and Fillmore townships with quality fire protection and emergency services,” Dietrich said. “As the townships develop and grow, the fire board will also be planning ahead to ensure that our fire department has the resources necessary to meet future needs.”

The Graafschap Fire Department serves all of Laketown Township and part of Fillmore Township. The fire board consists of two representatives from each township. Chief Doug DenBleyker and other firefighters serve in advisory roles.

The board meets on an as-needed basis. The next meeting is expected to be in July.

Dietrich began serving on the fire board in January. He is one of two representatives from Laketown Township. Jim Johnson is the other Laketown representative.

Fillmore Township representatives are Bob Yonker and Tim Hofman.

Yonker served as chairperson since 2013. He will remain on the fire board.

The board thanked Yonker for his time and leadership as chairperson.

“We look forward to his continued presence on the fire board as he represents the residents of Fillmore Township,” said DenBleyker.

Dietrich was appointed to the Laketown Township Board of Trustees as a trustee in September 2023.

Dietrich was an officer with the U.S. Coast Guard and was a consultant and chairperson of the Holland chapter of SCORE, a volunteer organization of entrepreneurs and executives that provides free mentoring services to local businesses.

The fire board is currently looking at how to handle staffing issues and equipment needs.

The Graafschap Fire Department station, 4534 60th St. on March 19, 2024.


Residents in Laketown Township will decide a 2-mill renewal for the fire department and infrastructure needs on Aug. 6.

The Fire, Road, Bicycle Path and Drain Millage Renewal Proposition, if passed, will bring in an estimated $1,198,000 to provide operating funds and equipment and apparatus acquisition funds for the Graafschap Fire Department, funds for the repair, construction, reconstruction and/or blacktopping of roads and bicycle paths and provide funds for the repair and maintenance of drains in the township.

Laketown Township residents have also approved a 1-mill levy for the fire department that will be on the ballot for renewal next year.