To the Editor:
Turtle Creek Volunteer Fire Department Incorporated, Chief Wes Gordon and the Board of Directors finds it necessary to categorically deny all the malicious allegations posted, printed and stated by news medias and Kerr County officials related to the use of our Command Truck.
These allegations were not corroborated, investigated or brought to the attention of TCVFD Inc. for an explanation before being announced or published publically. These slanderous allegations were intended to create a perception of wrong-doing by the member of the Fire Department driving the truck. The allegations were pertaining to the use of the Command Truck and places in the community it had been seen parked.
Being as the news medias and the Kerr County officials blatantly broadcast the unfounded allegations without proof or explanation, we the people of TCVFD Inc. are here to set the record straight once and for all.
The Board of Directors of the TCVFD Inc. run a criminal back ground check and a driving record check on all applying candidates before they are accepted into the department as a member. Policy is you don't pass you don't become a member. TCVFD Inc. has incorporated in our By-Laws a set of SOPs ie; Code of Ethics and disciplinary actions for offences.
The Board of Directors of the TCVFD Inc. instructed Chief Wes Gordon to keep the Command Truck in his possession at all times several years ago. Therefore, he would be able to respond to emergency incidents at a fire call without having to drive from his place of employment, located on Junction Highway west of Kerrville, to the station located on Upper Turtle Creek Road south of Kerrville.
Keep in mind Chief Gordon is a volunteer and he actually works for a living to support his wife and two children. He maintains and pays for the fuel for this vehicle except for actual emergency calls and runs errands for the Fire Department on his personal time. He takes a lunch break from work during the week. The Command Truck is his means of transportation.
The allegations stem from the Command Truck be seen at restaurants that sell alcoholic beverages. By the way, there are not very many eating establishments in town that do not sell alcoholic beverages. This does not mean he's consuming alcohol while eating lunch. The Command Truck has been seen parked in the parking lot during lunch time at the Boat, the Hey Barn and several other restaurants in Kerrville. Chief Gordon has also had the Command Truck at H. E. B. and local Mini Marts. He typically stops at these stores on his way home from work, after running errands for the Fire Department or after a call to an emergency incident. Chief Gordon has done nothing wrong and he is not a "bad apple" as suggested by news medias and Kerr County officials.
Chief Gordon is a respected member of the TCVFD Inc., a respected member of the community, a First Responder, a Certified Fire Fighter 5 and a human being. He does not deserve this kind of treatment.
Especially from the people he risks his life for to save and protect. TCVFD Inc. would also like to set some other things straight. Our contract with Kerr County is to provide fire protection to the community and for that service Kerr County reimburses the department for a portion of our actual expenses with qualifying receipts up to 524,000.00 per year. We also comply with every regulation Kerr county requires. The county also provides all the VFDs with Worker's Compensation Insurance as we are all volunteers and should we get hurt trying protect the community's life and property, the insurance is there as a small token of appreciation from Kerr County for the services we render.
By the way, it certainly isn't VFD's fault if Kerr County didn't disclose to TAC a correct number of volunteers being covered under the Worker's Compensation Insurance program. The remainder of our annual budget comes from grants, donations and fund raisers. Each fire fighter's safety gear is approximately $2,800.00. TCVFD Inc. has 17 fire fighters. Our insurance expenses are about S12,000 per year. Our trucks cost anywhere from $50,000 to $270,000, then there is maintenance and repairs, fuel, training, special extrication equipment and the lists go on and on. We're here to serve.
Finally, Chief Gordon and the TCVFD Inc. request a public apology and a retraction of publications and announcements from news medias and Kerr County officials for the malicious allegations.
Shame on all of you for trying to defame a good man and a great volunteer fire department.
This statement is approved by Turtle Creek Volunteer Fire Department Inc. Board of Directors.