Two Fallen Keweenaw Bay Firefigthers’ Funerals Set

L'Anse Firefighters pay tribute to their fallen firefighter brothers.

L’Anse Firefighters pay tribute to their fallen firefighter brothers.

Published August 30, 2016

Beartown-Firefihters-Logo-243x165BARAGA, MICHIGAN—The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community is mourning the death of two its firefighters who passed away tragically in a vehicle accident on their way assist fight the Box Canyon fire in Utah. The two firefighters who walked on are James Frederick “Jimmy” Shelifoe,  Jr., 23, and Alan John “AJ” Swartz, 25.

The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community of the historic Lake Superior Band of Chippewa Indian Community is based on the L’Anse Indian Reservation in Baraga in Michigan’s Upper Penisula.

The accident happened on Saturday just after 3 p.m. in Blaine, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis, while on its way to the Utah. There were nine Beartown Firefighting crew in the van. Another vehicle with 11 Beartown firefighters were about a half mile ahead of the vehicle involved in the accident.

Funeral services are set the two fallen firefighters by their families as follows:

James Shelifoe

James Shelifoe

James Frederick “Jimmy” Shelifoe Jr.

Traditional native services will be held at 1 p.m. Wednesday, August 31, 2016 at KBIC Zeba Hall. The family will greet fiends at the Zeba Hall on Wednesday, August 31, 2016 from 11 a.m. until the time of the service. Interment will take place in the Pinery Cemetery. Following interment, friends are invited to join the family for fellowship and a luncheon at the Zeba Hall.

Alan Swartz

Alan Swartz

Alan John “AJ” Swartz

Funeral services for AJ will be held at 1 p.m. on Thursday, September 1, 2016 at the KBIC Zeba Hall with Pastor Steve Rhoades officiating. The family will greet friends at the Zeba Hall on Thursday from 11 a.m. until the time of the funeral service. A luncheon will be held immediately following the funeral service.

The Government Offices of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community will be closed beginning at 12:00 p.m. Tuesday, August 30 and will re-open on Friday, September 2 at 8:00 a.m.

Route of Firefigthers Return Home

The deceased firefighters will be returning tomorrow, Tuesday, August 30.  The procession route began at the Thomas-Dougherty Funeral Home, 2535 Park Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota at 6:30 a.m. CDT.

The route is as follows:

Begining in Minneapolis, head North on I-35

Travel East on I-35 towards Superior, MN then take US-2 over the Bong Bridge through Belknap Street and on to East 2nd Street/US-2

From there stay on US-2 through Ashland, Wisconsin

Continue on US-2 through Wisconsin, proceed through Ironwood on the Wisconsin/Michigan Border

Through Michigan stay on US-2 through Bessemer to Wakefield

In Wakefield turn on to M-28, travel through Bergland to Bruce Crossing

Then turn on to US-45 North, turn East on to M-26 through Mass City

From there head on M-38 to Baraga, turn on to Superior Avenue, travel through downtown Baraga, turn on to US-41 to L’Anse, MI to Reid’s Funeral home.


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