A year ago today, when Craig Sidelinger passed away from colon cancer, he left a legacy as a proud Ann Arbor firefighter and loving family man that continues to be celebrated.
Last May, the Ann Arbor Fire Department dedicated its new firefighters’ training facility at the W.R. Wheeler Service Center to the memory of Craig. Then, on October 22, The Washtenaw 100 posthumously honored Craig as 2021’s Firefighter of the Year at our Annual Dinner at Travis Pointe Country Club.
This recognition was for a firefighting professional that Ann Arbor Fire Chief Mike Kennedy described as “a real change agent” and “an all-around fantastic guy.”
Craig Sidelinger joined the Ann Arbor FD in March 2000. He became the department’s Training Officer in July 2010 and served in that role with excellence for over a decade, before his battle with cancer forced his disability retirement in November 2020.
Craig’s influence was felt both within the Ann Arbor FD and outside of it. During his career, he worked with the Washtenaw County Hazardous Material Response Team and Swift Water Rescue Team. He was key in earning the Ann Arbor FD’s upgrade to basic life support status while serving as the department’s liaison with the Washtenaw/Livingston Medical Control Authority and Michigan Medicine.
As the department’s Training Officer, Craig ensured that all Ann Arbor firefighters maintained EMT certification, along with the department’s state licensing. Chief Kennedy said that Craig was key in obtaining five training trailers that continue to be used, not only by Ann Arbor firefighting crews, but throughout the county as well.
Craig’s public outreach work included Safety Town, Ann Arbor Ready, and the City Citizen’s Academy. For many years, he was the Ann Arbor FD’s representative in the University of Michigan’s Emergency Operations Center for Wolverines football games, interacting with emergency response agencies from across Washtenaw County.
Craig Sidelinger was taken from us far too soon. Yet his impact is lasting. Learn more here about how Craig made a difference at home, at work, in his community, and truly in all spheres of his life: