Dearborn officials reflect on legacy of John Dingell, prepare for funeral

Former Vice President Biden to speak in Dearborn

By Koco McAboy - Reporter, Dane Sager Kelly

DETROIT - Funeral arrangements have been set for former Rep. John Dingell, with a visitation and funeral Mass in Dearborn before he is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Full coverage: John Dingell

The visitation will be open to the public Monday at 11 a.m. at the Ford Community and Performing Arts Center on Michigan Avenue, and the funeral Mass will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Church of the Divine Child at 1055 North Silvery Lane. It will also be open to the public.

RELATED: Former Michigan Rep. John Dingell's memorial and funeral plans revealed

Speakers at the funeral Mass will include former Vice President Joe Biden, Rep. John Lewis and Rep. Fred Upton.

Dearborn firefighters and police officers remember Dingell as more than a congressman. Dearborn police chief Ronald Haddad said Dingell was truly one of a kind.

"The congressman was a true public servant," Haddad said. "He clearly lived his life, and he knew that he served the people."

Dearborn's fire chief, Joseph Murray, said Dingell would come and spend time with crews.

"He came to the firehouse a number of times just to have lunch with our crews," Murray said. "He'd talk with them to make sure they were getting the support they needed."

Dearborn firefighters returned the favor during Dingell's last days. As his illness progressed, fire crews were with him to support him, Murray said.

Police and fire crews are working together to prepare for a monumental send-off unlike anything Dearborn has had before. 

"There's people coming from Washington, people from other countries, all over our country," Haddad said. "It's huge."

The departments created a strict contingency plan, working alongside federal, state and local agencies -- but you wouldn't know that.

"It'll be seamless," Haddad said. "We don't want it to look like a high-visibility police operation."

It's a large task to prepare the city, but it's not difficult to find authorities willing to go the extra mile for the man who represented Michigan for nearly 60 years.

"It's just amazing, after Congressman Dingell's passing, the amount of calls I've received from our firefighters who want to help and get involved because they have that personal connection with him," Murray said.

Police and firefighters are eager to follow their call to protect and serve at the visitation and funeral while also honoring one of their strongest allies. 

RELATED: Remembering Army veteran, former Michigan Rep. John Dingell

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