Hundreds celebrate at pancake breakfast

Fire department thanks community for support.
Al Davis wears his red, white and blue “birthday suit” at the annual Graafschap Fire Department Pancake Breakfast on Thursday, July 4, 2024, at the fire station, 4534 60th St. in Laketown Township.

Some came by car, by truck or by scooter to the annual Graafschap Fire Department Pancake Breakfast on Thursday, July 4, 2024. Others came by bike, by motorcycle or wagon pulled by a tractor. And Al Davis even walked through in his birthday suit, perfectly comfortable among the hundreds of people inside the fire station at 4534 60th St. in Laketown Township.

His attire was red, white and blue and star-spangled from head to toe to celebrate the birth of America’s independence.

“It’s a birthday suit,” he said as he sat down with Deb Wiersma to enjoy the pancakes and sausage.

Firefighters and family flipped the flapjacks, sizzled the sausage and refilled water and coffee cups as the line looped through the garage, down the driveway and along the street. Fire trucks and apparatus were on display and booths offered information on fire safety, cardiopulmonary resuscitation classes, green address signs and recruiting information.

The breakfast is a way to thank the community for the trust they have placed in the department and their support of the fire millages that fund the department, Fire Chief Doug DenBleyker said.

Donations were also collected and given to charities including Girls on the Run that teaches essential life skills with a blend of physical activity; Great Lakes Burn Camp at Pretty Lake Camp in Mattawan that promotes healing, self-esteem, confidence and general well-being for burn injured children; Tunnel to Towers Foundation that provides mortgage-free homes to Gold Star and fallen first responder families with young children and specially adapted smart homes for catastrophically injured veterans and first responders; Firefighter Cancer Support Network that provides assistance to cancer-stricken firefighters and their families; and Marine Corps Toys for Tots that provides toys, books and emotional support to children.

Firefighters serve pancakes at the annual Graafschap Fire Department Pancake Breakfast on Thursday, July 4, 2024, at the fire station, 4534 60th St. in Laketown Township.

History

The pancake breakfast started in 1968 as a way for the Graafschap Civic Club to raise money for a ball field. The fire department took over organizing and running the breakfast in 1991.

Last year’s event drew 1,265 to the fire station and raised $7,200.

The Graafschap Fire Department serves all of Laketown Township and part of Fillmore Township.  For more information, visit the fire department’s website.

Children get information and firefighter hats at the annual Graafschap Fire Department Pancake Breakfast on Thursday, July 4, 2024, at the fire station, 4534 60th St. in Laketown Township.
Firefighters serve sausages at the annual Graafschap Fire Department Pancake Breakfast on Thursday, July 4, 2024, at the fire station, 4534 60th St. in Laketown Township.
Children and adults enjoy the annual Graafschap Fire Department Pancake Breakfast on Thursday, July 4, 2024, at the fire station, 4534 60th St. in Laketown Township.
Firefighters serve pancakes and sausage at the annual Graafschap Fire Department Pancake Breakfast on Thursday, July 4, 2024, at the fire station, 4534 60th St. in Laketown Township.
Patriotic summer attire was the rule at the annual Graafschap Fire Department Pancake Breakfast on Thursday, July 4, 2024, at the fire station, 4534 60th St. in Laketown Township.
The long line moved quickly at the annual Graafschap Fire Department Pancake Breakfast on Thursday, July 4, 2024, at the fire station, 4534 60th St. in Laketown Township.
People arrived by tractor-pulled wagon to the annual Graafschap Fire Department Pancake Breakfast on Thursday, July 4, 2024, at the fire station, 4534 60th St. in Laketown Township.
Fire trucks and apparatus were on display at the annual Graafschap Fire Department Pancake Breakfast on Thursday, July 4, 2024, at the fire station, 4534 60th St. in Laketown Township.
People head home after enjoying the annual Graafschap Fire Department Pancake Breakfast on Thursday, July 4, 2024, at the fire station, 4534 60th St. in Laketown Township.
A child looks through a book while sitting in the shade at the annual Graafschap Fire Department Pancake Breakfast on Thursday, July 4, 2024, at the fire station, 4534 60th St. in Laketown Township.