Young Change Maker: Boy Scout builds custom dryer for Roseville Fire Department's gear

Posted at 10:56 PM, Apr 03, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-04 08:20:23-04

ROSEVILLE, Mich. (WXYZ) — You've never seen a dryer exactly like what Julian Deschner showed 7 Action News on Wednesday at the Roseville Fire Department. You couldn't have — he custom made it for the department.

"It’s a very simple design really," Deschner said. "You have six figures to allow the firefighters to hang their coats on, hang their overalls. I created two beams on the sides to allow them to hang their gloves or their boots."

The 16-year-old Boy Scout started working on the dryer over a year ago after learning from his dad, a lieutenant at the fire department, that their team had been applying for grants for an industrial dryer to no avail.

Julian Deschner Roseville Fire Department dryer

His dad Mark Deschner told us, "They run anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000. And we had to wait a long time. We didn’t get the grant. Well when one door closes, another opens."

That door happened to be wearing a Boy Scout badge.

Mark Deschner told his son he'd seen a gear dryer made out of PVC pipes at the Shelby Township Fire Department and suggested that maybe Julian could try making one for his Eagle Scout project.

The engineer at heart took the idea and ran with it.

"For my Eagle Scout, it’s all about leadership. So I had to have a bunch of my Scout friends over and it was a whole assembly process where we would cut the tubing, making sure it was the correct fit," Julian Deschner said.

Julian Deschner Roseville Fire Department dryer

Mark Deschner said, "He spent countless hours in his room and on the internet researching, pricing out parts, looking for things."

Through all the hard work, Julian Deschner was able to make two of the custom dryers — one for each of the Roseville fire stations — each costing $1,000 and funded through donations.

Julian Deschner gave the dryers to the fire department about a month ago. Roseville Fire Department Sgt. Kalian Bagos told us they're already making a huge difference.

Julian Deschner Roseville Fire Department dryer

Previously, firefighters at the department were having to air dry their equipment. It wouldn't always be dry by the time they had to go back out.

Bagos said putting on wet gear to go fight another fire is, "Soul crushing. It’s miserable."

With the new dryers, gear now dries in four hours.

It's a game changer thanks to a young change maker.

"With all the cancer-causing materials that we’re going into, we have carcinogens all over our clothes, all over our turnout gear," Mark Deschner said. "We have to wash them because the rate of firefighter cancers are just skyrocketing, so it’s really important. There’s a big push right now to have clean gear."

"It means a lot. We can’t thank him enough," Bagos said.

Julian Deschner Roseville Fire Department dryer

Julian said, "It made me actually feel pretty proud of myself."

If you know of a fire department that could use a gear dryer like this, Mark Deschner said you can reach out to the Roseville Fire Department for advice.

And, it's helpful if you know an Eagle Scout.