Nov. 9, 2003

By Staff
MFD: Time to put aside ill feelings
To the editor:
I have worked for the city of Meridian for over 21 years, 20 of those with the Fire Department. Over my career in the fire service I have held the position of firefighter, driver/operator, captain, and my current positions as battalion chief and airport fire fighter. Race was not a factor in my attaining these positions. God's grace, education, strict study habits, hard work and training are.
The opportunity to become fire chief comes to a select few firefighters perhaps once in their careers and I am disappointed that for me the opportunity is now past.
The selection process is over. Tim Miller is the new chief of the Meridian Fire Department. It is my intention to support him for the short remainder of my career. I am also personally requesting that all Meridian Fire Department personnel put aside any ill feelings and allow Chief Miller the chance to make the Meridian Fire Department the best Fire Department in the state of Mississippi.
Anthony J. Clayton
Battalion Chief "A" Shift
Meridian Fire Department
MFD has lost key personnel
To the editor:
The fire department has truly been through several "hells" during the past two or three years. They have lost many qualified, trained firemen due to various situations. (Creel, Turbyfill, Martin, Bunyard, Riley, McWilliams, Latimer, Cherepanya, Carey, Roberts, Collier, Gardner, Todd, McKee, Rawson, Hunt, Davis, Jones, Keene, Wedgeworth, etc. and the list goes on.)
I wrote several letters about this, and it appears that nobody really listens or even cares. When most of our high caliber firemen felt that their only choice was to leave, what shape do you think that left the fire department in?
Firefighters, as any other employee, do not come to the job totally prepared for the duties that are required of them. The firefighters that I have mentioned above had years of experience, firefighters courses and several with an AA degree in fire science from Meridian Community College. And by the way, the deputy chief not only has had all these courses for many years, but has taught the fire science classes as well.
In order to do well at a job you have to care deeply about that job. It is not a game. When you have to work in a situation where there is no right or wrong, where you can't convince other people of right or wrong, you have a job that is close to unbearable. Along with unbearable comes low morale and a sense of not caring.
All that put together would indicate that our fire department is going down for the third time and there is no lifeguard in sight.
Please think. Compare the firefighter job to your job. Call or write to your councilperson. Call or write to your mayor. When you call them, remember we voted for each and every one of them. We are the councilpersons, and we are the mayor.
Pam Dietz
A success story
To the editor:
It was gratifying to see the article on Air Force Capt. T.J. "Jay" Hamrick ("Stonewall native carries on family tradition," The Meridian Star, Sunday, Nov. 2, 2003) The rest of the story is that Capt. Hamrick was a Civil Air Patrol cadet in the Key Cadet Squadron in Meridian at the Air Guard facility. He attended weekly meetings and rose through the ranks under the leadership of squadron commander, Civil Air Patrol Capt. Joyce Gibbens of Meridian.
Cadet Hamrick, "Earned his four year ROTC scholarship to the University of Mississippi through the Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program."
Both Cadet Hamrick and Capt. Gibbens (later Lt. Col. and director of the state cadet program) were chosen as the "Outstanding Cadet and Senior members of the year" of the Mississippi Wing, Civil Air Patrol.
The Civil Air Patrol is the Auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force and is under the same deputy secretary of defense as the Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve.
Roy P. Gibbens
Residents should be aware of scams
To the editor:
Meridian residents be aware. Scam artists are hitting the streets of our communities and robbing us in several ways. We had a man walk up to our door stating that he was selling magazine subscriptions to raise money for college. He was promptly turned away. Only later did we discover that we have items from our carport missing. A cell phone taken from our vehicle was one of them.
Something has got to be done. The police were called, but by the time they arrived, the man could not be found. Is he headed to your neighborhood? What about all of the elderly residents of Meridian? Has it come to a point in time where you have to lock up all of your belongings even when you are at home? These people need to be stopped.
Angela Kinney