H/t beloved GiovanniWorld member LittleMissMuffin!
Remember James Krapf, the firefighter in Chester, NY, who was suspended without pay for putting a sticker of the American flag on his locker?
Well, after protests by some 50 fellow firefighters and emergency responders from across Delaware County and as far away as Pittsburgh and Maryland, as well as ordinary citizens, Krapf is reinstated and the firestation rules are rewritten to allow American flag stickers!
American patriots won! We will NEVER let the ba*tards get us down!
FIREFIGHTER REINSTATED IN CHESTER
By Amy Brisson – Oct 20, 2009 – http://www.delcotimes.com/articles/2009/10/20/news/doc4add30eb91e61188486954.txt
CHESTER — Linda Vasile didn’t find out until late Sunday night that members of the Chester Fire Co. would be protesting the next morning over the suspension of firefighter James Krapf, who had refused when ordered to remove an American flag sticker from his locker. (See video at end of story)
But she immediately decided she would make a cardboard sign, wake up early and drive more than an hour from her home in South Coventry, Chester County, to join in the rally.
“I’m just an American, tired of Old Glory getting stomped on,” she said after stationing herself outside the Chester firehouse.
Vasile was just one of about 50-plus supporters who joined in a flag-waving protest, while Krapf, fire company union officials and Fire Commissioner James Johnson held a meeting inside.
The dispute began last week when Krapf was suspended without pay after he refused to clear an American flag decal off the outside of his locker under a newly implemented department directive.
The directive — which required firefighters to remove all decorations from their lockers — was ordered by Johnson after one of the department’s 61 firefighters posted a cartoon that others found offensive.
Discontent within the ranks grew deeper over the weekend when one of the firefighters appeared at work with a U.S. flag stitched upside down on his hat, as a sign of protest.
After a nearly two-hour meeting, Johnson, Krapf and union leaders held a press conference outside to announce Krapf would be reinstated and the directive would be rewritten to allow displays in line with the U.S. Flag Code.
“There was never an intent to desecrate the flag,” said Johnson, who added that the controversy had “taken on a life of its own” and distracted from the company providing its normal services.
Stacy Landrum, president of Local 1400, did not specify whether Krapf would be paid for the day and a half of work he missed, but said they had reached an agreement that made all parties happy.
He also declined to say whether he expected any disciplinary action against the firefighter who wore the flag upside down. But he said, with the federal code as a guideline, resolving that issue “won’t make it the fiasco it has been.”
Krapf said he was just glad to be going back to work and thanked the public for an outpouring of support. “It’s been overwhelming,” he said. “It shows we still have patriotism.”
The protesters, who came from emergency response companies across Delaware County and from as far afield as Pittsburgh and Maryland, cheered at the announcement.
Shortly after the meeting began, police cars and an ambulance responded to the firehouse.
Asked whether there had been an altercation inside, Landrum said they had been advised by an attorney not to comment.