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Webster's Dictionary defines "crisis" as "the turning point, for better or worse." The Capitol City Fire and Rescue is indeed at a turning point. The question is, "is it for better or worse?" District Chief Mike Doyle is in the process of a "reconstruction" of the entire Capital City Fire and Rescue Division of the City and Borough of Juneau. However, some may view these potential organizational changes as a tearing down of the organization that a lot of hard working, dedicated individuals spent years creating.
Here are some facts: Volunteers have turned in their resignations. Yes, reasons have been given, but I dare to say that the frustration and disappointment experienced over how things are being managed has finally outweighed their commitment to serve. That is a tragedy. Another fact is that the majority of paid staff firefighters and Emergency Medical Services started their careers in the ranks of the volunteers. Currently the number of volunteer firefighters is the lowest it has been in many years. The recruitment of new volunteers has all but stopped. When openings on the paid staff become available there has always been a number of highly trained and dedicated individual volunteers to fill those openings. That may not be so in the future.
Now, when you see my name at the bottom of this letter, many will know that I am not in the fire service. I am not officially connected to Capital City Fire and Rescue. I am, however, married to an individual who has spent almost 20 years as someone committed to a level of excellence in volunteerism. He has spent hundreds of hours being trained and training others to be "professional" volunteers. Actually, I am connected to the fire service. You see, when an individual commits to serve in a capacity such as this, the whole family becomes involved. Being a part of the Glacier Volunteer Fire Department has enriched our lives and will continue to do so.
I am writing this letter to let the public know that changes are coming and they might not all be good changes. Juneau needs its volunteer firefighters. Mike Doyle has compared some of the coming changes to the way things are done in L.A. Please know, Mr. Doyle, this is not L.A. It has been said, "change is a good thing." It has also been said "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."
Sandra K. Tagaban