Charity for Local Fire Department Gets Woman Fired

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NEW JERSEY -- A Stewartsville woman's Christmas nightmare may have a happy ending.

Tara Osmun, 20, was fired Monday from the Pohatcong Township Wal-Mart for using her employee discount to benefit the Harmony Township Volunteer Fire Co. She bought almost $1,000 worth of toys to be raffled off by the fire company, and saved $108 in the process.

Wal-Mart policies prohibit employees from using their discounts to benefit anyone except themselves or immediate family members.

If Osmun doesn't pay back the money, Wal-Mart documents say that she could face criminal theft charges.

But that's not likely to happen.

After hearing about Osmun's troubles, about a dozen local residents Tuesday offered to pay her debt.

Bangor resident Karen Wagner said, "You've got to be kidding me!" while reading the news article at breakfast. She read it a second time at work and thought, "This is wrong. I felt bad. This is the holiday."

Osmun also got two job offers.

Gary March, who owns a residential cleaning business on Route 31 in Clinton, wants to put Osmun back to work.

"It just upset me that a company would do something like that. I could understand if she was buying toys for all the neighborhood kids and everyone. But this was for a worthy cause," the Hampton resident said.

Osmun did not say what the other job offer was.

Some Wal-Mart employees interviewed Tuesday at the Pohatcong Plaza site disagreed. They declined to give their names.

"We are told about store policy and I know we can only use our employee discount for ourselves and family members," said a male Wal-Mart employee.

"I am not saying I think she should have been fired, but she did violate store policy," he said.

"What I feel bad about is that this happened around the holidays. I feel people wouldn't have paid as much attention to this if it was any other time of the year," said a female Wal-Mart employee.

March, whose late father was a volunteer firefighter, was so enraged by the store's actions that he has vowed to cut all business ties with the retail giant. The Maids of Hunterdon spends about $200 a month on cleaning supplies at Wal-Mart.

"For them to do something like that it just set me off," March said.

Harmony Township Volunteer Fire Co. is paying back the discounted amount, but Osmun must send the money to Wal-Mart's Arkansas headquarters herself.

Osmun said she was touched by the public's generosity. She'll probably use the donations to Christmas shop for her family and her fianc