I believe this department has its priorities in the wrong order. I don't know the whole story but I've seen this kind of behavior in my town and it's hard to believe Vol. Fire Departments can afford to oust trained and active firefighters for missing fund raisers. I'm not implying the fund-raisers are not important and understand a lot of departments rely on that money to operate however when the public needs assistance Bingo games and Carnivals don't put out the fires. Firefighters do! I hope these firefighters win their fight to be reinstated.
Firefighters dismissed for missing bingo games
By Associated Press, 8/5/2003 08:30
MIDDLE TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) Two volunteer firefighters have been dismissed from their department because they missed too many of its fund-raising bingo games.
Officials with the Rio Grande Fire Company in Middle Township made the decision last month after an investigations panel determined that Walt Belles Jr. and Ed Christensen had failed to meet the requirement. The Cape May County department's bylaws require that all members attend at least 60 percent of the games each year because money raised there helps fund its operations.
Belles and Christensen were told about the rule when they joined, but both said personal and work matters prohibited them from attending. They have met the department's other mandates, such as attending drills, meetings and fire calls, and both plan to seek reinstatement.
''I kind of think it's wrong because I've been in the fire company and I love getting out there and doing things for other people,'' Christensen told The Press of Atlantic City for Tuesday's editions. He said his job has prevented him from attending the bingo games, and was unsuccessful when he tried to work out an arrangement that would allow him to remain with the department.
Belles, 24, voiced similar complaints. His father and two uncles all hold high-ranking posts in the department.
''Bingos have nothing to do with serving the community,'' said Belles, who has been involved with the department for 10 years. He said he did not attend any bingo events this year because he was working two jobs and caring for his young daughter.
Rio Grande Chief James Belles, who is Walt Belles' uncle, declined to discuss the dismissals and referred all questions to Kirby Stiltner, the fire company's president, who was not immediately available for comment.
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08-05-2003, 03:48 PM #1
- Join Date
- Apr 2003
Fund Raising over training and attendance to emergencies
08-05-2003, 05:19 PM #2
- Join Date
- Mar 2002
- Loco madidus effercio in rutilus effercio.
I read this with mixed feelings. I agree strongly that its very important to show support to your Station by attending the fund raisers, as much as possible. However, there are times when that just isn't possible. Work schedules, family time and committments are big factors for why you can't attend.
Having a minimum amount of 'time' written into the by-laws is a pretty good way to trying to ensure that maximum attendance is encouraged, but I also think it should be a case by case evaluation for this too.
I will be the first to raise my hand if anyone asked me if there had been problems at home because of time spent 'working at the station'. My Ex used to ride me all the time for that. It couldn't be helped, with only 10 or sometimes 15 guys on strength in our station, it's really hard to encourage members to help out. I think if we had a 'mandatory' by-law, we would loose guys because then we would all be at the station almost all of the time. Good for the station, bad for the family life.
There needs to be a balance...... I hope these guys are able to find it, with re-instatement.If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)
"I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD
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Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!
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08-05-2003, 05:36 PM #3
We have mandatory minimums also in our by-laws. If you can't make them, there are other ways to make them up. Can't make Bingo, maybe they can setup the room or clean up the room. Again, very glad we got rid of Bingo.
08-06-2003, 11:03 AM #4
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