By David Fleet
Ortonville- At five-years-old Don Ball learned to do CPR.
“When I was a kid mom was a teaching registered nurse in the Birmingham Schools,” recalled Ball. “One day she brought the Resusci Annie mannequin home from school to practice on because she wanted to run through how she was teaching classes. She taught me CPR— I had excellent instruction as a young man.”
Two decades later Ball’s early training would be the foundation for a stellar medical career for the Brandon community.
On Sept. 16, Lt. Dan Ball, 64, retired from the Brandon Fire Department with more than 20 years as a firefighter, EMT/Paramedic.
A 1976 Oxford High School graduate, Ball was a truck driver for more than 22 years before, changing careers and joining the Brandon Fire Department in 1997 as a paid on-call firefighter. In January 1999 he enrolled in a basic EMT class at The City of Flint Fire Department, before paramedic training at Genesys Hospital in Grand Blanc.
“Brandon Fire Chief Bob McArthur and Assistant Chief Dave Borst were at the fire department when I started,” he said. “I decided I liked doing what I was doing as paid on-call and just wanted to be better at it. I was going to give it two years and if it did not work out, I’d go back to truck driving.”
“Sometimes you just need to reinvent yourself and do something with it,” he said.
On May 1, 2001 Ball was hired as a full-time EMT/Paramedic for Brandon Fire Department.
“It was a brand new position for Brandon back then,” he said. “We upgraded to Advanced Life Support (ALS) in 2002—the first time in our community.”
There were many changes over the years.
“The biggest change has been how we updated the EMS in this community for shorter response times,” he said. “Our goal was to provide the ALS service from door to hospital for residents, rather than sit and wait for other medical transport. Also, the equipment that has come along over the years is just amazing. As an EMS you always have to learn at this job—everyday. There is so much training, you have to stay fresh and understand it’s part of the job.”
Ball relocated to Brandon Township in 1989 from Auburn Hills.
“As years went by I wanted to get involved with the community,” he said. “I wanted to give back as much as possible. This is a great community, we could provide nothing at the fire department without the support of the taxpayers. It’s all due to them what we can do what we do. I’d like to say thank you.”
Each day has been unique at the fire department, said Ball.
By David Fleet