The funniest part was after digging multiple holes to locate the dog, we were looking down one hole; and to our surprise, the dog came out of another hole and was standing right next to us looking in the hole!
William (Bill) Stein worked many jobs during his 21-year career at WCRC, including assistant mechanic, truck driver, heavy equipment operator, and group leader. He was also the chair of the safety committee for four years, an alternate union steward and a member of the deferred compensation committee.
Bill’s most memorable interaction with the public involved a dog named Bonnie. The incident all started on a Friday in November 1979, when Larry Saccomagno was hunting with some friends in Saline Township near Macon and Willow Roads. Saccomagno’s coon hound, Bonnie, was also along for the hunt. Bonnie chased a raccoon into an old drain pipe and then got stuck. Larry and his friends tried for three days to free her but Bonnie kept moving further down the drain pipe.
The City of Saline and WCRC were finally called on Tuesday. At that point the stakes were pretty high, Bonnie was starving after 3 days underground. WCRC sent three employees, Bill Stein, Frank Hughes, and Mike Guenther, and back-hoe to free Bonnie. The City of Saline sent a local veterinarian to assist. The group spent six hours digging multiple holes in the pipe until Bonnie was finally freed. She had been stuck in a private drain that had been installed in the 1920s.
Saccomagno was thrilled with Bill, Frank and Mike’s help. He was quoted in a news article the next day, “It was amazing, absolutely amazing, and I want to personally thank everyone. I just couldn’t believe the way everyone pitched in to help.” Saccomagno’s mother Vi, added “It’s been just like ‘Lassie Come Home’ around here. There is not a dry eye in the place.”
It is certainly a story that Bill will remember for the rest of his life, it’s not everyday that you get to bring “Lassie” home. Bill retired from WCRC in 2004 and still lives in Washtenaw County with his family.