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Man donates time, service to sheriff

Alex Green • Jul 13, 2014 at 11:01 PM


Brian Ralston has developed a distinct set of skills through a lifetime working on vehicles.

The skills have nothing to do with arresting criminals, putting out fires or transporting people in need of medical attention.

So he has found a way to support these government functions by using his own skills.

The Ottawa County sheriff's office recently sold its special response team equipment vehicle and purchased an old squad vehicle from the Harris-Elmore volunteer fire department.

Ralston took the rectangular-shaped vehicle with the words "Harris Elmore volunteer fire department" tattooed on it and transformed it into a black sheriff's vehicle free of cost.

He was asked to make one particular change from Ottawa County SRT commander Jim Muller.

"To make it subtle," Ralston said.

Ralston, general manager of Jay's Body Shop in Millbury, gave the vehicle a chic coat of black paint that does not create a reflection.

The vehicle will mainly be used for transporting EMS equipment to scenes.

The original vehicle was sold for about $54,000, and the old Harris-Elmore ambulance was purchased for about $35,000.

The excess of about $19,000 will go towards the general fund, Ottawa County Stephen Levorchick said.

"We are very thankful for the generosity of Brian Ralston and Jay’s Body Shop," Levorchick said. "Had they not donated their time and resources, I am not sure that we could have gotten the vehicle painted. It is very hard to justify using taxpayer money to paint a vehicle that does not get used very often."

Ralston said it was the least he could do to give back.

"We have skills and resources to help them out and to give back," Ralston said. "Not all of us can be police officers or firefighters. Any skills we have we can use to give back."

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