Tony Prohownik has been volunteering as an Emergency Support Unit Officer for Grosse Pointe Farms for at least 35 years. He began volunteering when a friend began volunteering, he said.
The 85-year-old received a plaque of recognition Wednesday night as well as a badge granting him lifetime status as an Emergency Support Unite Officer in a surprise ceremony.
His wife, Wilma Prohownik, began the surprise by arriving at the ceremony shortly after the unit meeting began Wednesday. She said she wished she had gotten a picture of his reaction when she walked in, laughing about the level of surprise and her ability to keep the surprise just that for the last several weeks.
The retire elementary school teacher is the longest serving volunteer officer on the force--made up of 22 residents. Some only began volunteering recently while others have done it for years.
The unit provides extra manpower in a variety of situations--often emergencies, such as a big fire, or for traffic patrols such as during the annual fireworks show, Halloween and more.
Commander of the Unit, John Parnell, thanked Prohownik for his service and described what a pleasure it was to work with him over the years. Vice Commander Edward Roney III echoed similar thoughts.
Following the surprise ceremony, the group was having a small celebration gathering.