I respect each of the comments that you three have expressed. It is your right to do so. I assume each of you are city tax payers. Just wanted to give you some insight to my job as a firefighter. First of all We are here for you 7 days a week 24hrs a day and yes we don't take holidays off because we are dedicated to protecting you and your families. I have been a firefighter for over 16 years and have given my all for each of you. I don't do it for the low pay that comes with the job I do. I do it because I care. My pension is all I have and that's it. I scraped by to feed my kids and wife through my career. I never once asked for government assistance. I am 39 and already have a heart condition that is directly related to the stressful job and the toxic substance I have come in contact with over these 16 years. My knees are shot and shoulders from a collapse I was in. Do you know what it like to hear a kid scream as you pull up to a house fire and then go in to bring them to safety? The temperature is 1000 degrees the sweat inside your turnout gear turns to steam and your cooking from within. Your searching in complete darkness inside a structure that you have no clue where anything is. And then know you failed. The fire claimed the life we fought to save. To come out mad and then you can't fight back the tears because you had to recover the little lifeless body. As I have gotten older it gets harder to do things with all the abuse my body has taken. Soil you think we look for a hand out your wrong. I would give my life for you any day anytime and I don't even know you. I missed a lot of my kids growing up ,first days at school,birthdays,christmas and all of the other very important things one holds close so I could be there for you and your family. I don't hear any argument over the city buying realestate or needless spending and giving raises to the mayors staff at 38% pay increase. All I have is my pension and I don't think you want a 60 year old firefighter to try and rescue your family in a hurry. It's not that we don't want to do it. Our mind says we can but our body say no. AND IF YOU DON'T KNOW THE AVERAGE LIFE OF A FIREFIGHTER IS ONLY 58 years old. So before you try and judge me come and work a rotation so you will see. I really thought our citizens respected us but according to the first two comments that's not case. Next time you call 911 for an emergency just tell us we are pieces of crap as we are trying our best to save the life of the person you love. I will never be ashamed of my profession. So this is why 50 years old was set by the taxpayers. Or the taxpayers will be paying for firefighters who die on the job. I give my all for you and this is what we get in return. Give me my pension so I can live out my last few years in peace with my family since I didn't get too through the rest of my career.
In response to the above comment on the Fire and police pension fund my response is as follows. I understand that retirees would like representation on the F/P pension fund board. This would be a consideration that does need to be investigated further. The taxpayers need to be informed that the Fire and Police officers that serve this community do not pay into Social security. The pension fund is our only retirement benefit as others who work would collect social security at retirement age. If a Fire or police officer works a second job and pays into social security from this second job ,they would only recieve benifits at that point and also at a reduced rate. As for the changes made in the past retirees also recieved an increase in benefits. So stating the pension board is not taking into consideration retiree's concerns is completely inaccurate.
The citizens of Chattanooga have an outstanding fire and police department that serves this community unselfishly.