PAW PAW, Mich. (WOOD) — Wednesday marked one week since Paw Paw Fire Department Lt. Ethan Quillen was killed by a downed power line. His family at home and his family at the fire station aren’t facing the grief alone.
“He volunteered his life for this cause and we should do everything we can to give back to his family,” Paw Paw business owner Sarah Cox said.
She decided to give the proceeds from the sale of some special baked goods at her bakery GG Sweets to the family.
“We sold out and then some. We had people coming even after we sold out, dropping $100 bills in the jar,” Cox said. “It’s coming together to unify as a cause, to heal each other as we’re dealing with this loss in our community.”
At H2Design & Co., proceeds from a special candle designed by the boutique will go the Quillen family. Just down the street at Country Market Pork Store, customers put cash in firefighter’s boot.
A GoFundMe account for the family had raised nearly $130,000 as of Wednesday afternoon.
“(The fire department) didn’t stop. There were emergencies all weekend along and they had to continue and fight through their emotions,” Cox said. “They’re still out there being heroes. That’s why we as a community can hold them up.”
The same community is expected to turn out at Quillen’s funeral Saturday. Visitation at Paw Paw High School begins at 10 a.m. The funeral, which is expected to be attended by firefighters from across the country, will begin at 12:30 p.m.
After the funeral, Quillen’s body will be placed in a Paw Paw fire engine, a symbol of a firefighter’s last call. With community members lining the streets, the procession will leave the high school and head west on Red Arrow Highway and into the village of Paw Paw. It will continue through town, loop around the fire station — where it will pause briefly — and then go north on M-40 before it ends at M-43. Family and select firefighters will then accompany Quillen the rest of the way to his final resting place in Allegan.
Quillen’s name will soon be added to the fallen public safety officer’s memorial outside the Van Buren County Courthouse.
“It’s so humbling for everybody behind the scenes, seeing what’s taken place. The family’s almost overwhelmed at times about the amount of support they’re getting from something like this,” Van Buren County Sheriff Dan Abbott said. “I can tell you his name won’t be forgotten.