Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

Opinion

April 19, 2013

In the House of Wood

You're wrong, Register

Knoxville —

I’m not sure how many of you saw the section in the Des Moines Sunday Register a couple of weeks ago, which focused on shortcomings of some EMS agents. 

I read that thing, and I’ve got to tell you, I’m a little miffed. First of all, such propaganda, pigeonholing thousands of dedicated, community-minded volunteers, in with the few bad apples across the state, kind of makes the Register look bad. Since the Register is clearly the most visible newspaper in Iowa, it kind of reflects poorly on all of us. For this, I was offended professionally. 

Moreover, I was personally offended because I didn’t care for how volunteer emergency responders were portrayed in the piece. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know some of the volunteers with our local departments and they deserve much better publicity. 

I’m not going to deny that there are probably bad apples in the bunch and I fully support exposing such shortcomings. However, even by the Register’s own reporting, the number of bad apples is only a small percentage of the total volunteer responders in the state. 

For those cases, in which there are issues, the best way to deal with them is through local departments. Fire Chiefs, Police Chiefs, Mayors, City Councils, Township Trustees, Fire Boards, Boards of Supervisors - these are the people who should be weeding undesirable first responders out. It should not be left to any statewide “test” or some overpaid bureaucrat in Des Moines. 

Whether the Register or any other big-government supporter wants to realize it, not every department is made the same. They do not all have the same monetary resources available, equipment or volunteer pool. By that simple measure, most “one-size-fits-all” solutions are not going to help. They are just going to create more problems. 

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