I have been writing this column since 1998, when this paper started and I was a lieutenant at Fire Station 1 in Chester. My assigned task was to write about what I was seeing, from the vantage point of Engine 1, attempting to educate our community. I cannot say that I knew what I was biting off by accepting the role as a pro bono columnist. At first, my writing was focused on Chester and Chesterfield. I then began to expand my scope based upon what I was seeing in ministry. It was at this point that I received pushback from one county leader. If you have followed my articles for a while, you have seen the title change and even the way that I write my name. Sometimes, the title changed because my assignment with Chesterfield Fire & EMS changed, but there were some changes that came because of the pushback. There was even one article that I wrote on marriage that trickled down to a counseling form in my file.
The point of the title to this article is that there have been some, though not many, articles that have not been published. I have used many people over the years to proof my writings for proper grammar and content. My desire has always been to be accurate in my facts and willing to share the difficult messages necessary to educate people in a way that encourages a change of behavior. There have been times that I have irritated people, not intentionally, in the course of my writing journey. I learned a long time ago that incidents that happen closer to home have the potential of being much more emotional, especially when things are said that seem to place responsibility.
Things have changed for me since I retired. My flow of information has become more difficult to come by. Though the messages surrounding fire safety are the same, my examples are now taken from our nation instead of our community. When I hear about it, I write about it. The unpublished articles are messages that I believe needed to be communicated, but the subject matter is that which my proofreader believes that I cannot say. There are things happening around us that really concern me. I have also learned over the years that freedom of speech or press is only allowed, until you oppose the beliefs of certain people. Political correctness has stifled, in many ways, freedom of speech. Moral relativism, post modernism, secular humanism, and situational ethics have obscured the lines of right and wrong or good and evil.
Depending on your beliefs about the aforementioned ideologies will have a tremendous affect on your worldview.
I pray that the messages of my articles have made us a safer and better community and may have even saved lives along the way. You may wonder why I would think that an article like this matters. The fact is that there are many things happening around us that need our attention. Some messages may never get said, but I pray that you are fighting the good fight as I am trying to do the same. I ask you to open your eyes to the problems in your homes that will hurt you as well as the problems that may seem a great distance from you but may actually be around the next corner.