Good People And Bad Apples

???????????????????????????????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.

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12 Comments

Filed under Coventry CT

12 responses to “Good People And Bad Apples

  1. Anonymous

    Thank you for your recent write up on the dept. I myself am not a member of the department. There are however several members of the department whom I am related to or have become a second family over the years!! These dedicated men and women of our community have the right to respect and acknowledgement in a positive manner!! Along with the family members involved. They also should not be judged because of the “bad apples”…In my opinion these poor families are victims too!!

  2. Anonymous

    I am a member. Regardless of everything else, the fire engines and the ambulances still must respond to emergencies. Some don’t want to respond now, because of what is going on, and that’s understandable. But, it also means fewer responders are getting the jobs done. Any support — even just holding your tongue at this point — is appreciated. Thank you for this thread.

  3. Michael LaChappelle (Past Chief)

    As a life member and a long serving past chief of the Coventry Volunteer Fire Association, I appreciate the well written article above. The dedication of the membership will not let an emergency go unanswered. The department has gone through rough times before and carried on. I have not been active in recent years but the pain others in department may be feeling, I feel myself. I will not only make an appeal to the citizens of Coventry to give it time, I appeal to the membership not to let the citizens down by staying away. Time will heal the wounds that have have been inflicted on the department but that healing process will make the department stronger in the process.

    The town citizens should not give up on the department and the membership of the Coventry Volunteer Fire Association must not give up on the citizens. Anyone being critical of the department still depend on us in the times of need.

    It has been said before, “This to shall pass.”

    Just don’t forget why we are there.

  4. I am a life member with 32 years of cvfa.wehave about 80 members who are dedicated to serving the town of Coventry..The members i feel sorry for are the junior members who are just as dedicated as the regular members.it is my hope that we dont loose them permantly.such a waste all because of the 2 Bad Apples.

  5. Cindy Strickland

    I would never think badly of everyone, because of something one or two people may have done. I do not know the whole story, so I choose not to comment about it. Some times bad decisions are made by the best of us. All we can do is try our hardest not to make them. None of us are perfect. If we all knew each others pasts, things we’ve done what we are not happy about, how many real friends would we have? Who would we feel we could trust?
    I would rather trust all people, and try to forgive them for what they may have done, if at all possible. Most times it is, some times it isn’t.

  6. Anonymous

    The brotherhood you describe can also be described as a good old boys club. My husband was in a Dept. for over 30 years and there was not much that other members did not know that was going on. So with that I tend to think there were some in the dept. who knew of the two bad apples and chose not to upset the apple cart for the sake of the brotherhood at the expense of those assault by these two.

  7. Linda

    “The hottest places in hell are reserved for those in times of great moral crises maintain their neutrality.” Dante

    • Dante’s position on neutrality in time of moral crisis is well spoken, for silence in the presences of that which is morally vile and repugnant is equally corrupt. If however one were to remain silent and neutral, as a shadow of guilt by association falls upon the innocent they would also be corrupt, as their silence allows for scorn and punishment upon the innocent. Defending the innocent is worthy, ignoring the guilty or excusing their actions is repulsive.

  8. Member CVFA

    Opiningquill I take great exception to your assertation of “ignoring the guilty or excusing their actions is repulsive”. To think that there could possibly be anyone at CVFA that went along with this is ludicrous other than the 2, 3, or 4 people involved. I’m sure there are many, many people in our fire department that happened to make their observations known to the other CVFA officers, the town manager and the police. Their involvement I’m sure took many, many hours, days, weeks, months and years to conclude with any chance of having a conviction upheld. Please do not even think that there was any fraternity or brotherhood involved in any coverup of these dispicable acts in our fire house. Nobody liked any of this except those involved and most of the brotherhood waited patiently and not so patiently while they continued their shenanigans thinking nothing would come of it. I applaud all involved in bringing this to an abrupt end. It took a huge weight off all of our shoulders. We may have a few members who don’t exactly see eye to eye but when it comes to an emergency situation it’s one for all and all for one as it should be, a true brotherhood.

    • Response to Member CVFA:You have misunderstood the point that was being made in my response to Linda. In her original post she was speaking of neutrality in times of moral crisis which could leave the impression that in this case neutrality may have been present. I was pointing out that while allegations have been made and if true they are indeed serious but that should not stop anyone from standing up to defend the innocent that may be found in the shadow of guilt by association. You and I are in agreement not opposition. The members of which you speak did the right thing in coming forward and to do less would have been wrong. My last point in the response to Linda was to point out it would be wrong to not stand up and break the silence to protect those innocent members that had no real guilt but were being punished for their mere association. I said a person would be corrupt for not speaking in defense of those (in this case members) that are innocent. I hope this clarifies my position to you and that you understand the full and true meaning of the original response.

  9. Anonymous

    As soon as any inappropriate behavior was reported to any police, town manager, or CVFA members, all parties should of been immediately removed from working with the public until all accusations were fully investigated and proven innocent or guilty. To do otherwise continued to put others at risk in hands of some who clearly are not trustworthy. Both of Coventry Fire Dept.s are Volunteer and to belong is a privilege not a right. And when you do something to tarnish and no longer honor the obligation to the town and its people you should be removed.

  10. Anonymous

    I found this article particularly interesting considering the current circumstances, especially the following.

    In an April interview, Craig Ardel, then the president of the association, commended both Landry and Carilli as “major assets” to the department.
    “If I had to call an ambulance to my house for my daughters, I would welcome the fact that either one of them were on it.” Ardel said

    http://articles.courant.com/2006-06-16/news/0606160813_1_election-felons-injury-charge

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