There comes a time when standing up for what is right and just may not be popular, but it is the right thing to do. President John F. Kennedy wrote about such individuals in his Pulitzer Prize winning book “Profiles in Courage”. Kennedy chronicled the acts of integrity and bravery of eight U. S. Senators that suffered criticism and losses in popularity because they desired to do what was right at the time.
Today in our community there are a lot of men and women that serve their neighbors bravely and are having their integrity and character besmirched by association. They are not U. S. Senators they are local volunteer firefighters, providing serve to their community for all the right reasons.
Make no mistake; this is not a defense, excuse or vindication for the alleged moral misconduct that may have taken place at the department or by “bad apples” within the department. If proven guilty, their actions are abhorrent, not only to the standards of our community but also to the moral and ethical standards of our fire department. These allegations are repugnant and repulsive not only to the citizens of Coventry but especially to our friends and neighbors that serve as members of either fire department in town.
Does it take a special dedication to serve on a volunteer fire department? You bet it does, there are hours and hours of special training, drills and loss of family time, and it takes real dedication and commitment to do the job right. The value to the community is enormous and members deserve to be recognized for their contribution and not denigrated and stigmatized by the guilt of association when a “bad apple” begins to rot.
The Opining Quill is not a fire fighter and has not always supported the all the goals of the fire departments in the past. In fact, the Opining Quill opposed the construction of the newest fire house and the alteration of the fire study prior to the presentation to the public. Those are honest differences of opinion and I stand by those opinions but, I will not stand with those that choose to vilify and ridicule the dedicated morally upstanding citizens that do serve on our volunteer fire departments.
I have heard the term “brotherhood” negatively tossed about when listening to folks talk about our local fire fighters. Is there “brotherhood”? There better be or we don’t have a good department. These individuals are called upon in times of need to work together as a team depending on one another to ensure the job is done and everyone returns home safely to their families. Call it a “fraternity” or “brotherhood” but without that level of trust lives are at risk and it could be yours.
It is precisely the trust of “brotherhood” that makes the current allegations so painful to so many members of our departments. When the betrayal of trust comes from members in a leadership position it is all the more painful to endure. The pain is exacerbated when guilt by association is weighing heavily on the minds of members. Some fire fighters may choose to lessen the pain and walk away, and frankly I can understand. They have been unfairly criticized, denigrated, abused and vilified by their neighbors. I am hoping that they reconsider such action and believe the vast majority of Coventry citizens will continue to hold them in high regard.
Today I am asking my fellow citizens of Coventry to join me by standing in support not for “bad apples” but for fine men and women dedicated to serve as fire fighters in Coventry for all the right reasons. Let them know you appreciate their service and you value their contribution to you and to our community.
Now is the time to show your own “profile in courage”, now is your time to stand up. When we as citizens call upon our fire fighters in times of need, they have always responded. Now they have a need. They need to know that you support their efforts and believe in their character and integrity. Please stand up and join me here on the Opining Quill by writing a comment below to show them your support.