State’s longest-serving first responder hails from Highland

Al Michek to be honored at Capitol ceremony

Lawmakers are holding a ceremony at the state Capitol to recognize law enforcement across the state for their service. One of them is 80 years old and still serving his community today.

Al Michek hails from the village of Highland. He helped build the state’s EMS department back in 1972 by spurring a fundraiser to help buy the town’s first ambulance. Back then, it cost $15,000 for the vehicle. Al was able to raise that money by going door to door over the span of five months.

Fast forward 47 years and you will still find Al at the fire department in Highland. The building is newer than the old 70s office, also thanks to his work. Al is officially the longest-service first responder in the state. He still has a year left on his license and plans to renew it after that. Al will be honored at a ceremony planned at the state Capitol Thursday.

“I wouldn’t have that if it weren’t for my family and my wife backing me up,” he said.

His family can attest to his commitment to their hometown. They recall many nights Al had to leave early from a ball game, or church, or dinner, to respond to something bigger.

“He jumps up and all of a sudden he’s running through the kitchen, heading out through the house and tearing ‘er out of the garage,” his son Neil remembers.

“Maybe he wasn’t here when we had to do something, but he was helping somebody else,” son Jeff remembers. “It was probably more important for him to be where he was than to be here at that time.”

Al stepped down from chief in Highland five years ago after 35 years holding the title. His son Neil has since taken the helm, but Al is still active on the force.

“I never wanted any glory for it,” he says. “Still don’t. I just want to help people.”

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