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Fundraiser Grants Wish of Airport Firefighter with Stage IV Cancer

Public Date: 4/1/2010 12:00 AM
Contact: Bill Mullan, Media and Communications Officer
Phone Number: 248-858-1048

Pontiac, MI, April 1, 2010 - An Oakland County International Airport firefighter with Stage IV cancer is granted his wish of a lifetime. Harvey Mesler will visit Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida with five family members and two close friends in April thanks to the fundraising efforts of his co-workers and Waterford Township Police and Fire.

“I’m very overwhelmed,” Mesler said. Disney World is “one of my favorite places. I can act like a big kid and can relax. It’s a place you can go and not worry about anything you have going on in your life at the time.”

It all began when Mesler’s wife, Jeannine, suggested they visit his favorite place. “My wife knows how much I love Disney World, so we booked the trip immediately.”

When word got out about their plans, Waterford Township Police and Fire personnel donated a total of $2,000 to the Mesler family for their dream vacation from the Waterford Police Benevolence Fund and Waterford Professional Firefighters Local 1335 Benevolence Fund. Mesler’s co-workers followed up on Monday, March 29, 2010 with a fundraiser at the airport.

Mesler’s airport co-workers raised enough to pay for the trip outright and have additional funds to help with other bills.

“I can never put a price on something like that,” Mesler said. “I could not ask for a better family than the way these guys have treated me. It makes me proud to be an Oakland County employee.”

J. David VanderVeen, director of Central Services, said he’s proud of Mesler as an Oakland County employee. “I have met few people with more enthusiasm, energy and passion for the job than Harvey has.”

Mesler, 43, is undergoing experimental treatment in Phase One trials at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit. His insurance does not cover the cost.

He lives in Pontiac with his wife and 17-year-old son, Benjamin. He also has a 24-year-old son, William. Mesler will celebrate his 7th anniversary with Oakland County on June 30, 2010.

Reflecting on his career, family and the upcoming vacation, Mesler said with a crack in his voice, “I can’t really say I’ve missed out on anything.”

Contributing to the fundraiser luncheon were Dad’s Deli, Aldo’s, the Lion’s Den, Cheesy Luigi’s, Oakland Air, ADI and Uncle Bucks.