The women of the Unadilla Township Fire Department

The women of the Unadilla Fire Department. Left to right- Susan Bostian, Chief Wendy Hause, Shannon Beutler and Megan Larson. All photo credits to Allen Beutler

by Judy Williams

In good weather and in bad, in the dead of night or day, the four women in the Unadilla Township Fire Department stand ready to serve their community and help those in need, whether they are making a call to fight a fire or wheeling out on a life-saving medical run. Fire Chief Wendy Hause, Shannon Beutler, Susan Bostian, and Megan Larson are of differing backgrounds, ages, and interests, but all share a common goal: The four run toward trouble instead of away.

When asked why they undertake such a stressful and dangerous profession, the women gave similar answers. Bostian’s was short and to the point, “Because I know I can help in some way.”

Larson was quick to say, “We train for this. I don’t see the emergencies as trouble. All I see is someone who needs help, and I am an individual that cannot turn away when there’s something I can do.”

“Fortunately, we have heroes all across this great country that put the welfare of others above themselves every day,” Beutler added. “Not only do we have firefighters, we have the police, military and many other frontline workers.”

Chief Wendy Hause summed up her compatriots’ viewpoints when she added, “On what can be a person’s worst day of their lives, someone arriving to help is an enormous relief, whether it’s a car accident, a medical condition, or a fire situation. Our help is a lifeline to our citizens. All of us feel greatly satisfied when we know that we have helped a community member or their family.”

Throughout her life, Shannon Beutler has been committed to service. She spent three years in the Army serving our country and the past two years serving our local community. A member of the Unadilla Township’s Medical Response Division (MRD), Beutler’s main duty is focused on medical care, and she provides a needed service at fires as well. MRD’s help monitor the health of firefighters, set up staging areas, and more. She is a licensed Emergency Medical Responder (EMR). Beutler, a mother of 5, hails originally from the Bay City area and moved to our community 15 years ago.

“As a mother of a large family, Beutler brings a vast array of experiences and knowledge to our department,” Chief Hause stated. “Those skills are invaluable. She is always eager to learn more and help wherever she can. She is a friend to all.”


The athletic and newly retired Susan Bostian is another member of the MRD. Bostian grew up in Redford Township, lived in South Lyon and moved to Unadilla Township 11 years ago. A member of the UTFD of less than two years, she earned her EMR certification in 2020. She plans to spend her retirement in service to her community as an MRD.

“I have had a medical interest for years,” Bostian said. “Both of my kids are ICU nurses.”

Chief Hause describes the cheerful, ambitious, Bostian as a person eager to learn more about the medical response service and who never hesitates to sign up for additional classes. “She’s compassionate and friendly to patients, a friend to all,” Hause said.



Megan Larson, the youngest of the ladies, grew up in the Pinckney area. As a child, she had the misfortune of needing help from first responders multiple times. “Every time the first responders would show up, they would go out of their way to make sure that my siblings and I were safe and okay,” Larson stated. “I want to be that person for my community.” Larson continued, “I have many family members that are first responders, an uncle that’s a police officer, and my grandfather was a firefighter. I guess service just kind of runs in my genes.”

“Larson is an energetic, full-of-enthusiasm young woman who is living her dream,” praised Chief Hause. “She never hesitates to volunteer for duties around the firehouse and is dedicated to learning all that she can.”



Chief Hause’s gender makes her a member of an elite group of fire chiefs. Of more than 29,000 fire departments across the US, only 70 have female chiefs. As a Girl Scout in Detroit, Hause visited a fire station and decided she wanted to be a firefighter. She was immediately set straight. “Girls do not become firefighters,” she was told. Thankfully, she refused to let those word stop her.

In January 2019, after UTFD’s Fire Chief Mark Schroeder fell seriously ill, Hause was appointed the acting fire chief. Feb. 1, 2020, she took on the position as Unadilla Township Fire Chief.

“This job has been full of opportunities to learn more,” the smiling, energetic Hause said. “The men of the Livingston County fire chiefs have been incredibly helpful and supportive in helping me learn more about leading the way on different types of calls, especially fire situations. Their help has been awesome. “

A common thread among these four women is a supportive family. Each commented that the support and encouragement from her family has helped her in her role as an emergency responder.

Lastly, the ladies willingly share pieces of advice for young girls: Follow your dreams. With hard work you can achieve them. Don’t be afraid to fail. Find a career that you love, and you’ll never hate going to work.

Clearly, regardless of their gender, these four individuals serve as inspirations and role models to young and old, male and female.