OPINION COLUMNS

A choice we shouldn’t have to make

By Michelle Pittman | Published Wednesday, July 10, 2013

I am deeply disappointed and saddened by the state of affairs in Rhome. I was elected to city council a year ago, and in one year’s time, I have learned that I do not enjoy the Gestapo tactics that seem to be popular with other elected officials.

Instead of finding people who want what the citizens want, I find those who use intimidation to exert control or to push a personal agenda. This has brought on a continual lack of volunteerism and oppression throughout the city.

I thought I could make a difference.

When I learned of the low number of volunteers on the fire department, what did I do? I didn’t criticize – I joined the fire department.

This may not sound like a big deal to some, but I am a 5’1″ 130-pound single mother/grandmother who works as an accounting manager at a local museum – not the typical volunteer firefighter. Most people thought I wouldn’t be able to do it or would quit.

Forty-eight hours after joining the fire department, I attended live fire training with flaming propane tanks. I paid for my own medical training and certification so the city wouldn’t be out any money. I get up in the middle of the night to answer medical calls, work wrecks and put out fires. I have been on emergency calls by myself because we don’t have enough people willing to volunteer. I have loved every minute of it.

Does this sound like I have a personal agenda? I am getting nothing in return for my service besides an amazing feeling of doing so much good for my neighbors.

My concern now is that the city council is about to make me choose between being on the council, fulfilling my term in office, and staying on the fire department, helping people during emergencies. The mayor of Rhome is also on the fire department. Will he have to choose, too?

If both of us are forced to leave the fire Department, then there will only be three members left. Is that acceptable to the citizens of Rhome? If your insurance rates are raised due to increased fire response time, will it matter then?

Please show up to the council meeting this Thursday, July 11. Voice your opinion. I put my life on the line to help you in an emergency. Help me by showing up to the meeting and expressing your support for the men and women who risk their lives for you.

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