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!

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Comment by Paul Montpetit on July 31, 2009 at 5:09pm
Lutan...Trust is something one earns...it is not something to be taken lightly...Once that trust has been violated it is lost and it takes time and effort to be regained...I don't know this person, nor do I know what crime he comitted (nor do I need to know) I only know that he did something that his community (society) had deemed serious enough to lock him up for a period of time....therefore as I see it he violated a "trust".....Time mends all things given enough of it.....I hope all works out for him...Stay safe Keep the Faith....Paul
Comment by lutan1 on July 30, 2009 at 11:37pm
Jusr rereading some of the comments- Paul, are you suggesting he can't ever be trusted again?
Comment by lutan1 on July 30, 2009 at 9:14pm
Shouldn't he be judged on the now as oppossed to the the then?

Sure he's a convicted felon, sure he's still on parole, but it appears that he's more than proven that his life is turned around with his committment to the FD and the church.

At what stage do we forgive and allow them the opportunity to grow and move on?
Comment by Paul Montpetit on July 29, 2009 at 9:25pm
I have to bring this to light...If your friend is on parole then his debt to society is NOT paid...he is still answering for the mistakes of his past...Call it good or call it bad...He IS a convicted felon...and has proven by his actions that he cannot follow rules (of society) thus he cannot be trusted....I am sorry...But, I wouldn't want a convicted felon on my crew or as my partner.....Just my take on this...but that's the way I see it.....Paul
Comment by Jessica on July 29, 2009 at 1:12pm
I thought if someone commits a felony no matter how long ago you were not allowed in any dept.?
Comment by BillySFCVFD on July 29, 2009 at 11:53am
Brent it's great that you sticking up for your fellow FF. You stated the your friend had an awakening while serving his time in prison. I'm sure part of that is he realized life won't be the same for him so adjustment need to be made without bitterness. Since he adjusted and found another FD to belong to he must be at peace with himself. Be happy for your friend. Parolees don't have the same rights and shouldn't expect them. TCSS

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