Anthony Viviano owns Sterling Heights Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram, one of the largest dealerships in the FCA US LLC network, in Sterling Heights, Michigan. On the job, he focuses on saving customers money, providing superior service and employing more than 100 local workers. When he’s not at work, Viviano is focused on another mission: saving lives.
Viviano has worked with the Macomb County Sheriff’s Marine Division since he helped launch the effort back in 1988. “We started with a group of 24 volunteers,” he says. “These volunteers would assist the Macomb deputies in enforcing state water laws, search and rescue operations, medical emergencies, fire-fighting, body recovery, boat inspections and more.”
Today, the division has almost 100 marine safety officers – and a big job. The division patrols Lake St. Clair, which spans approximately 85 square miles and rests on Michigan’s border with Canada. It is the only government agency in Macomb County that is capable of fighting fires on the water.
Through his work with the division, Viviano makes the waterways safer for local residents. Sometimes, that means saving their lives.
“One day at about 3:30 p.m., we were getting ready to go on patrol when we received a distress call that there was an emergency on a boat,” Viviano says. “When we arrived on the scene, we saw a boat with a hysterical woman on the stern and a man obviously under stress, holding on to the arch of the boat.”
Viviano jumped aboard, only to find that the man on the boat was experiencing a serious medical emergency. His wife did not know how to use the ship’s radio or how to drive the boat. Instead, she had been calling out to passing boaters for help.
“I called for one of the marine safety officers to help me and, after coming aboard, he drove the boat toward the shore,” Viviano says. “The officer in the patrol boat called ahead for an ambulance to meet us at the dock.”
“What a great feeling when you can do something like that,” Viviano says. It’s this opportunity to save lives that drives him to continue working with the division.
In the off-season, Viviano trains the next generation of Michigan boaters. “During the off-boating season, I teach boating safety courses,” he says. “When the students pass and finish the course, they receive a Michigan State Boating Card, which is registered with the state.”
Deputies from the Marine Division train approximately 6,000 students a year. It’s work that could ultimately save lives, as well — Seventy-five percent of all boating accidents are the result of operator error, due to operators not being aware of the proper rules and responsibilities before getting behind the helm, according to the department.
By running a small business, Viviano makes smart decisions for the local economy. By working for the Marine Division, he makes smart decisions for the local community.
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