First of all, I am a bit late on this story due to my other duties over the last few days. The Fire Critic, Firegeezer (Bill goes deep on this one, giving us lots of background) and Firefighter Close Calls already have posted this video from Xenia, Ohio. In it, two council members, John Caupp and Dale Louderback, speak out and vote against buying seven sets of firefighter turnout gear through the Ohio Cooperative Purchasing Program. It is their belief that firefighters should buy their own PPE and cops should buy their own ballistic vests. Especially in the tough economic times that caused Xenia to lay off firefighters this year.
Looking at the video is it clear to me that it’s more than just the X in both Xenia and Xinos that’s the common element between this video and our other big fire department budget story of the last two weeks. As I am sure most of you recall, Connie Xinos wants to balance the Village of Oak Brook, Illinois budget (a wealthy community with no property tax) by firing one firefighter each month until the union agrees to modify its current agreement to allow staffing and pension cuts. Xinos added, referring to the wife of a fired firefighter:
“Maybe they’ll sue us. Maybe they’ll win something three years from now. She’ll leave him. He’ll be out of the house. The dog will be dead and the kids will be out on the streets.”
Warning: The rest of this column is kind of a personal message from me to Mr. Xinos, Mr. Caupp and Mr. Louderback. There’s no need for anyone else to read it.
Mr. Xinos, I imagine a man with your soft-spoken and easy charm is not lacking friends. But just in case you are, I want you to think of STATter911.com as your own personal eHarmony.com. No upfront fees. In fact, the service is completely free. And I believe STATter911.com has already found your soul mates for life (strictly platonic, of course).
Really what I am offering is kind of a video service for those who don’t have a best friend. Connie, just click above and I think you’ll agree that you could be looking into a mirror rather than a YouTube video.
So Connie, meet John and Dale. John and Dale, meet Connie (click here for his cool video). My gut tells me you three will get along famously.
I even have a suggestion for a first date for you fun loving guys. How about a trip to Emmitsburg, Maryland? It’s a gorgeous little town in the Catoctin Mountains. It’s just south of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The people there are lovely.
Fall is a great time to visit this area. How about the first weekend in October of next year? A year from now. I promise you the wait will be worth it.
I know how thrifty you three are, so why not carpool it to Maryland?
Connie will pick up John and Dale. Connie it’s on your way, but I already know what’s bothering you about this. No need to worry, I am sure they will chip in for gas (actually let me rethink that part).
Either way I am certain you guys will have plenty to talk about. I imagine by the time you turn south on Route 15 in Pennsylvania you will have solutions for many of society’s ills.
I have good news for you budget conscious men. I will be glad to pick up your hotel rooms in Maryland. I mean it. My treat.
I have more good news for you to save some money. While you’re in Emmitsburg I will be your personal tour guide.
The first stop has to be Gettysburg. There’s lots to learn there. Talk about being a leader during tough times. But you guys have shown those aren’t lessons you really need. Connie, I guess you would agree that John and Dale have inspired their own troops by toughening them up. Letting them know if they really must have protective gear going into battle, they should just buy it themselves. I am sure that’s what many of them did during the Civil War.
And John and Dale, I think you both will be greatly impressed with Connie’s leadership when he was in that fierce battle with the 11-year-old girl. I can assure you it wasn’t Connie who went home and cried that night.
By the way, while we are in Emmitsburg there’s a big event in town that weekend that I would love for you three to see. It draws about five or six thousand people each year. But there’s more good news. It’s free of charge. It won’t cost you a dime. I know money means more than anything to you guys. You’ve made that clear.
While there you should really take take the time to meet some of the men, women and children who will be at that gathering. I’ve been going for years and I always find it an extremely impressive group (but in a much different way than you three impress me).
Just do me one little favor. It’s simple. When you meet them, take a close look into their eyes.
That’s it. Nothing more. Just take a close look into their eyes.