Today wasn’t Atwood Firefighter’s Mike Blair’s birthday. It was actually Friday, Nov. 14, the same day as Mamie Eisenhowers. Yet today’s celebration of his 67 years was just as special and a big surprise.
Organized by his son, Tirean, and members of the Atwood Fire Department, the party was held at Protechs, Inc., Armstrong Drive, Warsaw. The event was attended by not only family, but his firefighter family from throughout the county.
The look on Blair’s face is one many will remember as it was priceless. Thinking he was out for a drive with his son and to check on some safety equipment, the stop at Protechs Inc., wasn’t unusual. Owner, Kenneth Kunze offered to give Blair a tour of the new facility.
Turning the light on in the warehouse area, Blair was surprised to see so many friends and neighbors awaiting his arrival.
Almost every fire department in the county was represented at the event which started at 1 p.m.
Blair retired from R.R. Donnelly’s after 42 years and has been an Atwood firefighter for 30 years. He also retired from the U.S. Navy and is said to be a very decorated man.
Blair has served as secretary of the Kosciusko County Fireman’s Association and the state fire commission.
“He is loved,” said his daughter Cori Hargrave. “There are a lot of people who love, know and care about him. He would do anything for anyone. He’s a loving and giving man and an excellent father, grandfather and husband.”
“He’s an asset to the Atwood community and county,” added Kathy Harmon.
Firefighting runs in the Blair family. Mike Blair’s father, John, was the first African American Firefighter on the Muncie Fire Department. Mike Blair followed his father’s footsteps as has his son Tirean. His grandson, Jayden Hargrave, a high school student, hopes to be a firefighter and would make the fourth generation.
Mike has been battling pancreatic cancer for the past 1 1/2 years.