John T. Sayles
- Pentwater Fire Department
- Age: 38
- Year of Death: 2012
John Thomas Sayles was born May 7‚ 1974‚ in Jackson‚ Michigan‚ to Thomas and Ann (Sexton) Sayles. John’s mother and father exposed him to livestock and farming from a young age. He loved the outdoors‚ swimming‚ and water skiing. He was a protective older brother to his sister‚ MaryAnn. In 1985‚ the family moved to Hart‚ Michigan. John was eager to get a snowmobile‚ but his father had other ideas. John received his first tractor‚ a John Deere Model A.
John graduated from Pentwater Public School in 1992. On October 3‚ 1998‚ he married his college sweetheart‚ Melanie Hartley‚ at Riverside Park in Scottville‚ Michigan. John and Melanie were blessed with three beautiful daughters‚ Mercedy‚ Marissa‚ and Mandi. Like their father‚ they are being raised with the love of farming.
John’s firefighter training began in the fall of 2002. Within two years he was one of the more active members of Pentwater Fire Department. He then accepted a full-time job with the Pentwater Department of Public Works. John had a reputation for always smiling and was willing to help anyone‚ no matter how big or small the problem. Whenever there was a call for help‚ John was always there. He responded to 787 fire and rescue incidents in just 10 years‚ second only to the fire chief.
At 6′ 4”‚ John was a gentle giant. He enjoyed deer camp every year with the same group of friends‚ even though he never shot a deer. When the fire pager would tone‚ his enthusiasm to respond and a more serious demeanor would surface. A Michigan certified Fire Officer I & II‚ he commanded all incident responses‚ but his strength and passion was water supply. He thrived when there were no hydrants. John always made sure the engines were pushing enough water‚ and tenders were bringing enough water.
John was not only active in the Pentwater DPW and Fire Department but also very active in agriculture‚ working for Aerts Apple Farm. He was extremely active with his daughters‚ coaching soccer and basketball‚ leading 4-H‚ and being a member of the West Michigan Old Engine Club. John will be remembered for his core country living values and his dedication to family and community. He loved country music‚ trucks‚ and anything John Deere. But more than anything‚ John loved his wife‚ children‚ and family.