HOLTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — The Holton community honored beloved Fire Chief Bryan Hawk who died Thursday afternoon, following life-threatening injuries he suffered while riding his motorcycle last Sunday.
The vigil was originally scheduled to be held outside the Holton Township Fire Department, but community interest in honoring Hawk was so high it was moved to Holton High School.
Hawk, who served in various roles at the fire department for more than 30 years, was involved in a crash last Sunday near the intersection of Riley Thompson Road at Holton Road (M-120). An SUV collided with Hawk’s motorcycle. The collision ejected Hawk approximately 40-60 feet, according to a release from the Muskegon County Sheriff’s Office.
Members from Hawk’s family, the Holton community and firefighters from more than a half-dozen departments showed up to the vigil.
“You can’t be in fire service as long as Chief Hawk has been and not make an impact with everybody, even different departments,” said Nicholas Mock, a firefighter at the Holton Twp. Fire Dept.
The Hawk family has been a staple at the department for generations.
“Three brothers, two chiefs, one that’s retired,” said Ted Hawk, Bryan’s brother who is a captain at the Holton Twp. Fire Dept. “Both chiefs passed away now. Father was a chief. Grandfather was a chief.”
Bryan was a role model for younger members in the department, like Lt. Robert Sampson, who joined as a teen.
“(I) went down a rough path,” says Sampson. “He took me in, showed me right way to go. Gave me plenty of shots.”
Hawk earned his chance to be the department’s chief in 2019.
“It meant the world to him,” his brother Ted said. “This department meant the world to him, the team meant world to him. Started out as a firefighter, worked his way up through the ranks. Held every position in this department.”
The chief’s death adds on to what’s been an emotional year for the Hawk family.
“Been a tough four months for our family,” Ted said. “Lost four family members now in four months. This was a real punch in the gut.”
Ted takes solace in knowing his brother will live on through others.
“Before he passed away, they did confirm they have two recipients for his kidneys and one for his liver,” Ted said. “He’s going to continue giving and serving, proud of him.”
Hawk lived a life dedicated to serving others: As an organ donor, firefighter and navy veteran.
He is survived by his wife and five children.