To the citizens of Mad River Township,
We, the former members of the MRTFD and members of the Fire Association, would like to take the time to thank you for allowing us the opportunity and honor to serve you all. As many of you know, your Fire/EMS services have been negatively affected by a large number of resignations over the past year, specifically at last Monday’s trustee meeting. We want to take this opportunity to speak to you, the citizens of this township. Although the decision to leave was difficult, it was not one done in haste. We, in no way, want to “abandon the community.” Many of you are family and friends and many of us live in this community.
We came to this decision after feeling repeatedly ignored by our leadership. We felt all of our employees were being placed in danger by the hiring of someone with a documented history of inappropriate behavior and allowing him to be brought into our community and exposing him to our female employees, our cadets, and allowing him into your homes. One of those female employees, having been exposed to this behavior at a previous department, and now a member of MRTFD, reached out along with other department members and expressed concerns in regard to hiring this individual, given his past and bringing him into our department and community. Those pleas were ignored by those responsible for his hiring and promotion within the department. The fostering and creating of a hostile working environment and choosing to ignore repeated expressions of concerns brought forth by members in regard to numerous issues that directly impacted department operations, member and citizen safety, staffing issues, and new hiring processes also led to our decision to leave.
We have given our leadership many opportunities for a “chance to make a positive change.” In July of 2017 members of the fire association met with our trustees about these issues and then again, in approximately February or March of 2019. Members at that time met again with trustees about many of these same issues. It was at the this time they were informed as many as 15 people could potentially turn in resignations if changes were not made. Again, our voices were not heard.
In the end, it’s not simply about numbers. The citizens have lost more than just warm bodies. This community is now without roughly 190 years of experience and no one with formal fire officer training. The citizens now have no certified fire instructors and no fire inspection program. The department no longer has a certified SCBA maintenance program and have lost 11 paramedics, countless EMTs, firefighters , divers, and support staff and these are only to name a few.
We are in the business of helping others when they are at their most vulnerable. We don’t leave people behind as we don’t leave each other behind. When those in need reach out their hands, we ALWAYS reach back. We, the brothers and sisters of The MRTFD, stand arm in arm as firefighters, as EMTs,as Paramedics, as family. We WANT to be here for this community and for our citizens, but we cannot do it under leaders who only look out for their own self-interests and turn a blind eye to the safety of their own.
We invite you all to express your concerns to those making these decisions, those leaders that “respect our difficult personal choices.” We had to stand up for what is right for this community and we implore you to do the same. Meeting are held at the firehouse on the 1st and 3rd Monday’s of the month at 7:30 pm.