Sunday, Dec. 30, 2001
Firefighters' morale low, but still brave, professional and seeking public support
To the Editor:
To the Citizens of Meridian:
I would like to begin by saying that I had no idea I was working for the BEST Fire Chief in the State of Mississippi and Southeastern part of the country. But that is a different issue than what I'm writing you about today.
Beginning Dec. 1, each shift went from a minimum manning of 29 firefighters to 26. We have only one platform/ladder truck and it is located at the new Central Fire Station and responds to all hospitals, downtown buildings, Meridian High School property and Industrial Park calls. It has basically been unmanned since Dec. 1 with the exception of a few occasions. In the event this truck is needed and the department is at its minimum of firefighters, another station has to be out of service in order to man the platform/ladder truck. This increases response time, possibly placing the public at a greater risk and much less putting the firefighters at risk, also.
In my 20 years with the City of Meridian, the morale of this department is at its lowest! We all now understand that there will not be a cost of living raise available to any city employee, including department heads, with one exception. That exception being the Fire Chief. This is one of several reasons that we have had a record number of firefighters resigning in the past few years.
After reading this and hearing other rumors in the past few weeks regarding our department and Fire Chief, there is something you should know. I would like to assure you, the citizens of this great city, that the frontline firefighters are professionals and committed to our jobs in protecting your families and your property to the best of our abilities. We assure you that we, as a majority, are not planning any organized strike or sick-out that would put your lives and ours in any danger. We are committed to serving you.
We all have reasons why we choose the careers that we do. We as firefighters chose this career so that we can help others. And as we all have seen on Sept. 11, some of our brothers have given the ultimate sacrifice in helping others. When firefighters run into a burning building, we don't stop to wonder whether the people inside are rich or poor, what race they are, or what religion they practice. Our thoughts are focused solely on the individuals inside that need to be saved.
What I would like to ask from you, the citizens of Meridian, is that we have your prayers and support during this time of need. If you have any questions or if you just want to come by the fire stations to meet the brave men in this department, please come by any station, we all welcome you!
As a Captain with the Fire Department, I would like to say to you that I am proud and privileged to be working with some of the best and bravest men that unselfishly put their lives on the line each and every day to protect the lives and property of this community.
Thank you for your prayers and support.
Why destroy beauty of Bonita Lakes park?
To the Editor:
Why destroy the beautiful Bonita Lakes natural pristine forest and wildlife area for a new golf course? I have talked with many folks who feel this destruction of our park should not be done. Most feel that the Bonita Lakes Park is very unique for a city to have and should not be destroyed; that it is a special natural treasure of this city right at our doorsteps for all and future generations to enjoy.
Truly, it is unique. Most of the forest has been growing for around 75 years and longer. Today, one simply does not find forests like that within a city because of so much timber cutting. But this area has been left alone and allowed to grow into many beautiful trees, plants, flowers, hills, valleys, ravines, streams and micro ecosystems which have become home to an abundance of all types of birds and wildlife.
The city has done a good job in developing the many hiking, walking, jogging, cycling and horse riding trails throughout the area, making it a unique natural park for all to enjoy. Such an area cannot be replaced. It is a valuable, unique, treasure for Meridian. One can go there simply for the beauty of it and greatly appreciate what God has created.
It would be a great loss to our citizens and a terrible shame for our city leaders to destroy it for the construction of another golf course.
Act of Christmas honesty applauded
To the Editor:
It was the afternoon of Dec. 24, Christmas Eve, 2001, as my daughter and I left Foodmax on Frontage Road. We walked to my car and drove home, busily making plans for the evening.
About two hours later, I discovered that my wallet was missing from my purse. After searching the house and car, I called Foodmax. I was informed that my wallet had been found in the parking lot by a security guard, who turned it in to the service desk. I didn't ask about the contents because I already knew my money and credit cards would be gone. But I hoped my identification and other documents would still be intact.
I rushed to Foodmax and retrieved my wallet. I was so flustered that I didn't ask for the name of the security guard who found it. When I got back in my car, I checked the contents. Everything was there: money, credit cards, identification, medical cards, etc. I couldn't believe it. I checked again, just to make sure I wasn't dreaming.
When I got home, I called to obtain the security guard's name and phone number so I could thank him properly. The young lady who took my call informed me that no security guard had been on duty at the time my wallet was found, that it was a customer who had found it in the parking lot and returned it to the desk. Unfortunately, no one had thought to get this person's name.
I hope you are reading this, whoever you are. Your act of returning my wallet to the service desk was very much appreciated and your honesty and integrity were totally unexpected.
Thank you, kind and honest person, for making Christmas extra special. May God bless you and your family.