2009.08.12 Cathy Williams: Fire department criticism

Written by David Green.

First, I must convey my condolences and prayers to the family of Jeremy and Zachari Rohr. No words can tell you how sorry we are for your loss. Having been through our own tragedy less than five months ago, we know how much you hurt. Please treasure the memories you have and know you are all in our prayers.

Secondly, Mr. Black, what you did was truly an act of heroism. One which each and every one of us would hope we could duplicate. I am sure your family is very proud of you, as they should be. But we cannot sit by and listen to you make comments about the “100% volunteer” fire department that did their best in a tragic situation.

The families of those men and women have to watch them put their lives on the line each time the call comes in, with no glory or reward. They, too, are very proud of them, as they also should be. But what you and others are saying about this department is like a slap in the face.

These are regular people, your friends and neighbors, who at the pager’s call jump up, no matter what time it is or what they are doing, and try to put to use the training they have received, never knowing what they are going to encounter at any given time—all without any rewards or glory expected. But we, their families and friends, demand respect. Respect not just for them, but for us, also.

There is one woman who had to watch her 24-year-old son enter that burning structure to look for survivors. And remember, 24 volunteers responded to this call that came in at 3:43 in the morning. That is very impressive in its own right. And then, to say it took 40 to 45 minutes for them to arrive? Are you all crazy?

With just the age of that home alone, to burn that long, there would have been nothing left but the basement. I know that for a fact, once you call 911, any time it takes them to arrive seems like forever. But to question which hydrant was used and how they fought this fire, which they, not you nay-sayers, have been trained to do, is ridiculous.

Chad Schisler and the members of the Morenci Fire Department are very brave, upstanding men and women in this community. And I, for one, am very proud to call them family and friends.

– Cathy Williams

Weston Road

  • Front.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

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