Posted by Joan Hanna on July 24, 2017 in Blog
Bill Bazzi is a Marine Corps veteran, longtime Michigan resident and a candidate for Dearborn Heights City Council. He is hoping to serve his country again, but this time through public service: “I joined the military because I wanted to do something more. I wanted to serve my community and my country. It’s one of the reasons I am running for City Council. I want to give back and to honor my mother, who believes civic involvement is so important.”
With a passion for giving back to his community and engineering, Bazzi enlisted in the military in 1984 and graduated from Aircraft Mechanic school the following year. He serviced aircrafts for four years at the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station in Washington before he decided to switch gears and study Aeronautical Engineering at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University earning a Master’s. Over the next 11 years, he worked for Boeing in Chicago. But he missed the Marine Corps so he re-enlisted in 1999 and serving through 2015 as a Sergeant in the military police. Bazzi’s sense of duty is deeply rooted in his upbringing and by his mother’s involvement in the Dearborn community, which is where his immigrant family settled.
Karam Bazzi, Bill’s father, came from Lebanon in 1976. Bazzi’s mother, Lowriss, brought Bill and his four siblings to Dearborn later that year. Like so many Arab Americans, Bazzi’s parents worked in the auto industry: Karam at Chrysler and Lowriss with Ford. When hard times hit in the form of layoffs, Bazzi’s parents set an example of hard work by taking various jobs around town. Bazzi’s childhood was typical of an immigrant family: “My parents emphasized education, diligence, respect for others, staying out of trouble and giving back to the community.” Bazzi’s mother was a particularly strong supporter of civic involvement. Lowriss volunteered her time with ACCESS (Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services), the Women’s Liberation Organization, and was one of the founding members of Bint Jebail Cultural Club in Dearborn. “While we were growing up, my mother was very active in the community. She raised money for orphans, participated in ways to preserve and celebrate Arab and Lebanese culture and she was passionate and concerned about what was happening in the Middle East. My father would discuss politics at the dinner table, but my mother was the one who was so passionate about engagement here and abroad.”
Giving back has been a lifelong activity for Bazzi. He has helped raise $55,000 over the past decade for the Midnight Golf Youth Program (an organization helping underrepresented young people transition into professional careers), serves as the Vice President of the Ford Veterans Network, volunteered his time as a Veteran Mentor for the City of Redford Veterans Court, helped organize the Dearborn Memorial Day Parade and the Detroit Veterans Day Parade and coordinated numerous Toys for Tots drives. When he is not volunteering around Dearborn Heights, the place he has called home for about five years, Bazzi works as a Product Development Engineer at Ford.
For Bazzi, a seat on the city council not only opens up opportunities for him to use his leadership and conflict resolution skills, but also gives him a chance to make a difference. “I’m excited to work with the different communities in Dearborn Heights. As an American, someone with Arab heritage and as a military veteran, I look forward to bringing together a diverse group of folks to work on issues that matter for our community. Whether it’s trying to make inroads on making the city council more efficient, accountable and respected or empowering young people with more productive opportunities and activities around the area, my position would be to serve the people, not my or anyone else’s personal interests.”