- Special Sections
- Public Notices
I am the president of Milton Fire and Rescue writing in response to Mr. Graves’s letter in the April 4 Trimble Banner. This letter and these comments are my own.
These are some things the people of Milton and Trimble County need to know about.
First, the Tornado Victims Benefit Concert, held for all those affected by the March 2 tornadoes—although light in turnout—was a success.
We, the Milton Fire and Rescue, were there in attendance for the event. We, the Milton Fire and Rescue had decided two weeks prior to this event we were donating any money raised on our behalf back into the victims’ fund and made the gesture known that day to those who organized the event.
Next, yes, our department has got a lot of coverage from multiple media outlets. Yes, our chief, Jason Long, has put our story and pictures on the internet via our website, twitter and youtube accounts. Check them out sometime. O, by the way, thanks for the plug.
But here is where the rest of the letter needs some attention:
The second paragraph mentions all the coverage we have received about our department’s Station #2 destruction. What it doesn’t mention is, first off, all the news media contacted us or happened upon us the day of March 2 and the days following when we were at the site cleaning up or at our station #1. Second, we the members of the department that spoke to the media DID tell them of the destruction and tragedy in other parts of the county. We, the department, cannot control what information these media outlets publish or air.
No, that was not our primary firehouse and equipment but that firehouse and equipment did help give our residents living within our fire district an ISO rating of 6—almost unheard of for a rural community like ours.
What is ISO you might ask? It is used to determine premiums you pay through your insurance agents and/or companies. The scare ranges from 1-10, the lower the number, the cheaper the insurance rate on homeowners’ property policies. We work very hard to achieve this rating and are always working anyway possible to go even lower.
The day of the initial touchdown we had people taking cover in our station #1 besides our fire personnel. We had several firefighters going road-to-road assessing damage, going to the devastated areas to help. We even responded to an auto accident that same evening. We never stopped doing what we VOLUNTEERED to do, even through our loss.
To paragraphs four and five: Milton Fire and Rescue under the leadership of Chief Jason Long indeed has insurance on the buildings, equipment and fish trailer.
The fish unit problem is not one of no insurance coverage, rather an oversight labeling it under the wrong insurance coverage, which acts of nature it did not cover. A fish trailer worth $45,000 was insured.
To continue with the latter part of paragraph five, what are we as a volunteer fire department doing with a $45,000 fish trailer when our finances are in question? What finance problems are you speaking of?
Yes, when Ronnie Barnes was chief he attended several fiscal court meetings on behalf of the fire department. I went with him to some myself. He spoke of the fire department and StatFlight/AirMethods. It’s a public meeting and these are items he felt were of public concern that needed addressed.
I’m sure that’s how you got your information by sitting in the meetings, too, correct?
Ronnie Barnes questioned the actions taken by fiscal court in one particular meeting (the one you refer to in your letter) and did not beg, nor did he say the fire department was broke, that was stated by someone on fiscal court. (I have the newspaper article. It was quoted.)
As for our fish trailer, $45,000 was not dropped out of our pocket at one time to purchase this. This has been an accumulation of equipment, supplies and years of volunteered hard work and upgrades of other fish units we literally worked until no longer safe to transport on the roadways. So, we have “refurbbed” over the years.
So I’m guessing a tent, old bus or other vehicle was not an option for you.
Our fish trailer was not extravagant. It was nice and fit our needs. The “little labor” you spoke of was indeed a lot of labor and hard work that got us the trailer we had.
As for the mowing, we are volunteers and not everyone has weekends off to again volunteer to come mow both fire stations. They already work 40-plus hours weekly, do trainings, do special details and fundraisers, attending meetings and are on call 24/7 for emergency incidents. (Doesn’t give any of us much time for family life, but we do it because we love it.)
This is why myself and my husband, the assistant fire chief, do it. Yes, we do get paid, but nowhere near what it would cost for a contractor to do the mowing, trimming and landscaping.
If it is an issue for you, I would be more than happy to set up a volunteer schedule for mowing services. Shall I pencil you in for once or twice a month?
Once again, I am a PROUD member of Milton Fire and Rescue and these comments are my own.
God bless all the victims of March 2 and thanks for supporting the fire department, Larry, I think.