By Judy Reed
The City of Cedar Springs will soon be looking for a new fire chief. That’s because Chief Jerry Gross Sr., fire chief for the last 11 years, has decided to step down from his management role at the end of this month. He made the announcement at last week’s City Council meeting.
“My intent is to stay with the department and still run fires and medical calls,” explained Gross, who turns 64 in September.
Besides being fire chief, Gross also drives truck, and runs zoning and code enforcement for Nelson Township. “My schedule is pretty full,” he said.
Gross has served on the Cedar Springs Fire Department for 32 years—half of his life. He started out serving on the Sand Lake Fire department when he was just 16, and left when he was 19.
Fighting fires is in his blood. When he was growing up, his father fought fires for the Sand Lake Fire Department, and his mother would often bring him and his older brother to watch his dad if the fire was close by. Jerry became a member of the junior firefighters and washed trucks and helped out around the station. When he later married his wife Barb, they decided to live in Cedar Springs and he became a firefighter here.
Gross said he has enjoyed the majority of the work he’s done. “We do things with the intent to help, and sometimes we feel our efforts come up short,” he said, in regard to medical emergencies and some fires.
“But I could not have done what I did without every member of the department,” said Gross, emphasizing that they are all a team, and that the department is not about one person.
Gross said that it was his understanding that he would work with Deputy Chief Marty Frasier until the city chooses a new chief.