Editor, The Times:

I am writing this letter as a concerned citizen about a situation that has recently come to my attention. I live in Pierce County just outside of the city limits, past the high school. As such, my home, and others near me, fall under the jurisdiction of the volunteer fire department. In recent years, never has it been more apparent that our first responders are an important, vital and necessary group of brave souls who must be protected at all costs.

Imagine my complete shock when I discovered that these hardworking men and women are not being paid a fair amount for the work that they do! Ten dollars to save someone from a fire? The math on that is poor if I do say so myself. I honestly find it terrifying that if my home were to catch fire, they would only receive $10 to come assist me. Why show up at all? That ridiculous amount is disrespectful. Especially if you compare it to the amount of training that they must complete and the amount of work that they must do to save lives in our community.  

Not only is that amount meager, but did you also know that they don’t receive a regular salary? Not a penny. So they are expected to be on standby for an emergency for that small amount.

As I was unaware of this situation, I wanted to write you and start a discussion about it. We need to do more. Steps need to be taken to support our everyday heroes and show them that we appreciate the hard work that they do. I hope this letter inspires action on your part and that you add my letter and the concerns it addresses to the next issue of the paper.

If you would like to speak about this further, please don’t hesitate to give me a call. Our community needs to know about this issue so that we can do our part to make appropriate changes that will benefit us all.  

T.J. Whitfield Sr.

Blackshear