Former 911 director keeping busy after retirement

Courtesy photo
Former Arenac County 911 Director Steve Wuelfing, right, receives a plaque Dec. 18 from County Commissioner Mike Snyder to thank him for his years of service. Wuelfing retired in October after serving in the role for five years.
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GLADWIN — After retiring from the position of Arenac County’s 911 director in October, Steve Wuelfing has found himself ever-busy.

Wuelfing served as the 911 director for Arenac County for five years, and another 25 years before that as Gladwin County’s 911 director. He said going into the job at Arenac County, he planned on retiring after five years, a plan he followed through on.

But while Wuelfing said he hopes to go on a vacation with his wife at some point, his retirement was thrown for a loop. His son, who works for the company Medical Data Rx, told him about an opening there and suggested he look into it. As a result, Wuelfing is back to work.

“It does data backups for medical facilities,” Wuelfing said. “I wasn’t planning on this when I retired, but my son had an opportunity pop up so I checked into it.”

Wuelfing said there are a lot of things from his time in Arenac County that he is proud of, such as how effectively dispatchers handled maritime emergency calls from boat fires and sinking boats.

Another incident where a child fell into a pool and needed to be resuscitated was also well handled by emergency services, Wuelfing said.

“We’ve had a lot of very good outcomes on incidents,” he said.

The department also ushered in technological improvements under his supervision as well. Wuelfing said they were able to replace obsolete electro-mechanical equipment in the office that was no longer serviceable, and the 911 department secured grants that helped local fire departments upgrade their emergency radios to the new narrow-band system.

New Federal Communications Commission rules require that emergency radios move to narrow-band transmissions by Jan. 1, with old radios needing to be upgraded or retired by then, he said, adding that he heard from Arenac County Emergency Management Coordinator Ed Rohn that the last few radios had just come in Dec. 10.

Wuelfing said the county was very fortunate to find the new 911 director for Arenac County, Chris Barbb, whom he considers very well qualified and likely to do an “excellent job” for the office.

Nevertheless, he looks back on his time with Arenac County with fondness, even when looking forward. The county remembers him as well; before a meeting of the Arenac County Commissioners Dec. 18, Commissioner Mike Snyder presented Wuelfing with a plaque commemorating the work he did for the county.

“I’d like to say the county departments were so good to work with,” Wuelfing said. “The courts, the prosecutor’s office, the clerk’s office, the treasurer, central filing, they are all there to serve and help, and they all have gone out of their way to go out and help. It’s been a good experience working with them.”

“It’s quite a nice county to work in,” he added.

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