STANTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WJMN) – The Houghton County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) sent out a letter of thank you to a Stanton Township family for filling a need for emergency communication.
HCSO said in a release on Friday that Ed and Faye Wakeham found a need for communication, because of no cell service where the camp is. Ed Wakeham said there had been instances where emergency services were needed and contacting 911 was difficult.
Ed and Faye bought and built a call box on Little America Rd. The phone is a land line that when picked up, rings directly to Station 80 in Negaunee. The phone is clearly marked and accessible to anyone that needs to make an emergency call to 91-1. The phone is also monitored by camera to protect from pranks and misuse.
Houghton County Sheriff Joshua Saaranen said, “This is a great community member initiative that will help the residents and local camp owners if they have a need for emergency services. I want to thank the Wakeham family for this project”
Sheriff Saaranen drove to Little America Rd to try the phone and reported that it worked flawlessly.
We spoke with Ed Wakeham over the phone on Friday to learn more about why he decided to take on this project.
“We had a brushfire out there before we had a landline. We only had a cell phone in the car. I went to five different houses to look for help. Either someone wasn’t home or they only had a cell phone,” said Wakeham.
Ed Wakeham said in recent years, people have had their snowmobiles break down and people fall off of four-wheelers. He even remembers an instance where his son was chased by wolves. In the summer he’s seen people riding motorcycles, walking dogs, and jogging in the area. With no reliable cell service for miles, Wakeham decided he would take action.
“I sent Marquette County Central Dispatch pictures and a letter and told them exactly what we’re doing in case anybody ever used the phone, they don’t have to ask a bunch of questions. It’s all in their computer,” said Wakeham.
Motion activated solar lights illuminate the area. and reflective signs were installed to help people find the phone in an emergency.
“It took me about a year of planning between buying signs, ordering the phone, figuring out a box for the phone. A plastic box that you could see,” added Wakeham.
He said between all the equipment and setting up the line, the project cost about $1,000 dollars. He also pays the phone bill himself each month to keep the phone operational.
“It’s to help people. Something could go wrong. It could be scary for someone when there’s no help around.”
When asked what he would say to encourage other people to take on a similar project, Wakeham said, “Just help people out. It could be your neighbor, your best friend, someone you don’t know. Just do the right thing.”