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Johnson City Firefighters and government programs in Friday's Forum

Staff Report • Sep 30, 2013 at 9:24 AM

Seeing the pictures of the Johnson City Fire Department from the past on Sept. 23 prompted me to write this letter. Our current fire department’s employees do so much more than fight fires. I often wonder just how many people are aware of this. A call will bring these men to your home to assist in lifting a person who has fallen, they will answer a call to check on a sick loved one and assist in arranging transportation to a hospital if necessary. When my husband was ill they made many trips to our home, always with a good attitude.Last week, I called our local department to see if it might sell and install smoke detectors. “No,” was the answer, “we don’t sell them, we will give you one, and yes we’ll come to your home to check yours and if needed, install new ones.” I was surprised to say the least. The very day that I called, three firefighters from Station 5 arrived at my door with new smoke detectors. These men were highly professional, offering me good advice about placement and also informing me of the importance of a carbon monoxide detector because I have a gas heater. They convinced me. I plan to purchase one today. ANN C. HALLJohnson CityGovernment programsThis is a reply to a letter from Mark Willis of Bluff City under the headline “Broke and bankrupt.” Willis writes of President Obama as if the unemployment rate and the number of people on food stamps were a problem of his making. We all know who created the so-called recession and we all know who had to clean up the mess.Willis admits there was a recession, but somehow thinks a recovery from problems that severe would take months. The problems will be with us for quite a few years to come and yet many of us seem to be so shortsighted. He says the insurance companies wrote Obamacare, which is plainly wrong in that it originated from the Heritage Foundation. Mitt Romney implemented a similar plan in Massachusetts, and it has worked well. As health care costs have risen double digits yearly for the last 40 to 50 years, why not give Obamacare a little leeway and see if it will help? You detest the Obamacare mandate that we carry insurance, yet in many states we mandate car insurance to all drivers. The fact is health care increased all of 4 percent last year — less than any year in the last 50. Did Obamacare do that? Willis says he is also against Social Security — calling it a Ponzi scheme and suggesting we should get rid of it because older people should take responsibility for their retirement. There are many people who wish they could take such responsibility but cannot.Should the richest country in the world just stand by and let people die or live on the streets? Social Security has been a lifesaver for many Americans. As to some people being satisfied with crumbs from the master’s table as you stated, I would say most people got tired of waiting for the GOP’s trickle-down plans to work. STEVE STANISLOWSKYJonesborough

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