Community rallying to help longtime firefighter, volunteer
MOFFATT TWP. — Pat Madigan has served his community as a firefighter, donned Santa Claus and Easter bunny costumes, coached baseball and led Boy Scouts — but now his community is coming together to help him while he battles cancer.
Ray Tola of Moffatt Township said Madigan was diagnosed with lung and bone cancer in May. Ray said he and his wife Dawn wanted to do something to help out Madigan, because he has volunteered countless hours to improve his community.
Ray said they have organized a July 24 benefit dinner and a July 26 community garage sale to help raise funds for Madigan’s medical treatments.
Ray said he came to know Madigan by serving as a firefighter in Moffatt Township.
“He’s been on the fire department 30-plus years, I know,” he said. “He’s been a friend of ours for more than 20.”
Madigan dresses up like Santa around Christmas and provides children with gifts, Ray said.
“He set up in Alger Market as Santa Claus to make sure the children whose families couldn’t afford it got presents,” he said.
Madigan was working on installing a volleyball court at the park when a lingering pain in his hip prompted him to go see a doctor, which was when he was diagnosed with cancer, Ray said.
“He expected it to be from a fall in the winter and thought it didn’t heal up, or he thought he had shingles,” he said. “When he was working on the volleyball court, he couldn’t stand it anymore so he went to the doctor.”
Ray said he has lost multiple good friends in recent years and did not want to lose another one, so he decided to lead the cause to help out Madigan. He said he would go to the Alger recycling center twice a month and take donations from people for Saturday’s sale.
“The community’s been wonderful with the contributions as far as donation go,” he said.
Ray said he also went to many businesses in the region — as far south as the Bay City area and as far north as West Branch — and received many donations for a silent auction that will be held during the benefit dinner at Hank’s of Alger July 24.
The dinner is scheduled to run Thursday from 4-7 p.m. Tickets are $7 for adults and $4 for children.
The community garage sale will be held at the Moffatt Township Fire Hall July 26. It is scheduled to run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.