I have a friend who was recently dismissed from his fire dept for being on parole. His Chief knew from the start, of his past trouble, a felony conviction from over twenty years ago. This man did do time, over 20 years. and had completely turned his life around for the good. but was still on parole. that was the reason his Chief gave for letting him go, saying "it did not look good..." This man served with honor, courage, and distinction as a firefighter, and was never late, never a problem, and was even recently asked to become the pastor of his church. The man had more than paid his debt to society, and had become a firefighter to give someting back to his community. The man appealed to the State Fire marshall about his dismissal, and was told the Fire Marshall has no jurisdiction in the hiring or dismissal of firefighters. The man's Chief said "the Board" had issues with the fact that the man was still on parole. Personally, I think this is outrageous and grossly unfair! Years ago, when the man was young, dumb, and stuck on stupid (as he himself explains it,) he made a mistake (a robbery with no violence or injury to anyone). He says going to prison for all those years was one of the best things to ever happen to him, as it forced him to grow up and realize the value of life and his freedom. Since his release from prison, he has made a nonstop effort to turn his life around and be a positive productive contributing member of society. So it begs the question, "How much is enough???" How much does this man have to pay? How much more must he do to show he is not the same man he was all those years ago who made a stupid mistake in his youth and paid dearly for it? In a day when we have politicians going to prison on a regular basis, or in office after they have had felony convictions and or have done time, I find this treatment of this brother firefighter a disgrace not only to him but to every firefighter everywhere! What is one iota different in his putting his life on the line than you or I doing it? If you are trapped in your burning home or in a smashed up vehicle on a freeway after a bad crash, are any of us at that time going to be wondering about the firefighter cutting us out of that vehicle or risking his life to save ours from our burning home as to if he has ever done time?? I think not! If you and this man enter a burning structure and you go down, and He drags you out to safety, is it even a remote chance, that you are thinking about his past mistakes a lifetime ago? Not everyone of us has had a scrape with the law or done time, but there is also not one of us in life who has not made a mistake in our life at sometime or done things we are now sorry for.. So again, it begs the question: "How much is enough???" Luckily, My friend found another dept. that did not care that he is still on parole and recognizes that he is a firefighter with a heart the size of Texas and dedication that knows no boundries. He is also going through EMT courses to expand his experience so that he can better serve those who are in need when the worst day comes their way. As for me, I would proudly charge into the seventh ring of hell with this brother firefighter anytime, anywhere, knowing he has my back! He is my brother firefighter, and I would gladly lay down my life to save his and I know he would do the same for me. And as I see it, that is more than enough, and plenty good enough for me!