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Verso worker killed in line of duty working as firefighter
LANSING, MI (From news reports) -- Governor Gretchen Whitmer has ordered U.S. and Michigan flags to be lowered to half-staff on Saturday, March 21, 2020, to honor the life and service of Forsyth Township Fire Fighter Benjamen "Ben" Lauren, who was killed in the line of duty.

"As an up-and-coming leader in his community, the death of Fire Fighter Ben Lauren is a tragic loss for our state," Whitmer said. "The flags will be lowered to honor Ben and serve as a reminder of his selfless sacrifice. My thoughts will be with his family as they lay him to rest."

Ben is a resident of Gwinn, Michigan. He graduated from Gwinn High School in 2014 before attending Northern Michigan University, where he earned a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering Technology degree in 2018. He was a member of the Forsyth Township Fire Department, and received the Forsyth Township Fireman of the Year award in 2018. Ben also worked as a maintenance planner at Verso Paper in Escanaba.

Ben was serving his community during a structure fire call when he was fatally injured on Friday, March 13, 2020. A private service will be held at the Canale-Gwinn Funeral Home.

The State of Michigan recognizes the duty, honor and selfless service of Fire Fighter Ben Lauren by lowering flags to half-staff. Michigan residents, businesses, schools, local governments and other organizations also are encouraged to display the flag at half-staff.

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