I just finished reading the article "Facebook Firehouse Fallout" and the editorial "Heroes and fools" in the Friday, June 8, edition. I would like to take this opportunity to commend The Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company for its actions it has and is taking on this issue. Chief Ed Hopkins is very well rounded, knowledgeable and has excellent people skills who has been on top of this issue and doing what is in the best interest of the fire company.
I was a member of the Bel Air fire company back in the very early 1980s when Dick Woodward and Donald MacLean ran the fire as both fire chief and board members. I will tell you this: the Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company is probably, strike that, definitely the most efficient and well run department in Harford County. They have always been a rule and policy driven organization, with even handed discipline for all its members. I would stack up this department against any paid department in the Baltimore area.
The unfortunate thing is that someone posted an idiotic comment on public social media, which isn't new but I thinks it's the new generation. Just look at some of the other message boards for local fire departments on the web, it's sometimes amusing and appalling at what is written. In all my years in the fire service I have never known the Bel Air Fire Company out to seek a "reward" or "pat-on-the-back" type of thing. They have always been out to provide the community the best trained and skilled fire protection that they can.
In closing, I'm very confident the Bel Air fire company will learn and correct this matter so it does not happen again in the future. I do not think that being a all volunteer fire company promotes a more carefree expression of opinion over a career department. If I were a betting man, I would say it was a younger member who has been brought up in the technology age and there lies the problem. Too many avenues to take than back in the days of face to face conversation on the newspapers. The Bel Air and Harford County community can rest assured that the Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company will do the right thing for now and the future of its existence.