Chuck, this was a well written. Since you know me you know that while I have been around the fire service in New Hanover County for many years, you also know that I decided early on not to make a full time career of it (partly because of some of the things you identified above).
That being said, I have watched the WFD grow and mature in many ways over the past 20 years. Rembering when folks like Robinson, Williams, Graftis, Smith (and many others) were buck private firefighters and to see them now as BCs and Captains managing the day to day emergencies for the citizens of Wilmington…… well it has made me a better person just for having known and worked with them.
The task of trying to convey what was in your letter is certainly one that I don’t envy. Sometimes your success is your failure….being able to maintain an excellent ISO rating, deal with budget cuts, handle all of the needs of the citizens all while “doing more with less” unfortunately makes many decision makers complacent and well….lethargic. I hope that your words won’t fall on deaf ears. Places like Raleigh, Charlotte, Greensboro and other similar fire departments would give anything to grab up first class folks that Wilmington didn’t take care of. I would pay more in taxes without hesitation if I knew the NHC Fire folks would get paid as they should, I have to believe that citizens in Wilmington feel the same way.
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