Chili cook-off Saturday to honor fallen fire chief

Comstock Township Department of Fire & Rescue Chief Ed Switalski
An undated courtesy photo of Comstock Township Department of Fire & Rescue Chief Ed Switalski.

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — It’s been nearly four months since the Comstock Township fire chief died in the line of duty. This weekend the community will rally behind the fallen chief with a chili cook-off.

The Kalamazoo Mortgage Hero Salute is organizing the first annual Hero Salute Chili Cook-Off to help the Comstock Township Department of Fire & Rescue’s memorial fund reach its $60,000 goal. The funds will go towards building a bronze statue of Chief Edward Switalski in front of the fire department.

The cook-off runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Kalamazoo West Professional Center, located at 2425 S. 11th Street in Kalamazoo. It’s open to the public and 100 percent of the proceeds will go to the memorial fund.

Switalski was hit by a vehicle and killed while responding to a call on I-94 on the night of June 14.

Event organizers say they knew from the moment they heard of the Switalski’s death they needed to do something.

“When I get up and go to work every day, my family has a pretty good indication that I’m coming home. These firefighters, police officers, no different than a veteran, I’m a Marine Corp veteran, their families don’t get that same promise,” said cofounder Brian Methner.

“It’s something when we do events like this, it really gives us a chance to take a step back and say thank you. There are no amount of thank yous in the world that are going to be enough to suffice for the sacrifice some of these folks make.”



Comstock Township Department of Fire & Rescue