Michael J. Penovich

Michael J. Penovich

Mike was born on March 5‚ 1969. He spent a lot of his young life driving his mom crazy‚ taking many small appliances apart and putting them back together to figure out how they worked. When he was a teenager‚ he always had a hot rod project in the driveway. Later in life‚ this allowed him to fix just about anything from a $200‚000 tractor to a $100 lawnmower.

Mike spent his early life on or around horses and the roping pen and rodeo arena. As a senior in high school‚ Mike moved to Utah to do high school rodeo in the calf roping‚ team roping and steer wrestling events. The first year‚ he placed at nearly every rodeo‚ landing him at the Utah state high school rodeo finals and then the national high school rodeo finals. He kept the passion for rodeo and went on to compete at the amateur and professional levels.

Mike married Shelly on February 21‚ 1992‚ and they had two beautiful kids‚ Colton and Chyann. His #1 motivator was his family.

In 1997‚ Mike found his niche in life helping people as a volunteer on the Cedar Fort Fire Department. A few years later‚ he was voted in as chief. Mike always worked to better the department and his personnel‚ by applying for grants and using his gift for gab to obtain used trucks that needed more work on them than he had time. One of the things he was most proud of while with Cedar Fort was forming mutual aid relationships with surrounding agencies.

In 2006‚ he accepted the job of full-time fire chief for Saratoga Springs. During his short time before his death‚ he moved the department into a new fire station and also bought and brought on line the city’s first ambulance. During his time as a firefighter‚ he completed many certifications‚ including: Firefighter I and II‚ EMT Basic and Intermediate‚ IPO‚ and Wildland Red Card. He also taught classes for the Utah Fire and Rescue Academy.

At 6′ 4” and 300 pounds‚ he was larger than life‚ but his heart was even bigger. He cared about most anything that ever drew a breath. He was always stopping to help someone on the side of the road or just lending an ear or shoulder.

On July 5‚ 2007‚ Mike was returning to Saratoga Springs after looking at a truck the city was considering buying. The truck he was driving suddenly veered off the road and down a 75-foot cliff‚ landing in Deer Creek Reservoir. He never made it out alive. Mike was an example for all and will be dearly missed.