Earlier this week, I received a letter from General President Harold Schaitberger of the International Association of Fire Fighters [IAFF] informing me that I received an Honorable Mention in the IAFF's 2005 Media Awards Contest. An editorial I wrote for The Winchester Star in August 2004 - "Yes to ALS, No to Union-Busting" - was the piece that received the award. In it, I chastised the town for implementing ALS without properly negotiating the new service with changes to the union's contract. In thanking me, Schaitberger wrote:
"IAFF members across the U.S. and Canada appreciate the work you have done to expose the importance of safe staffing and equipment in fire departments, a vital issue for the IAFF and professional fire fighters."According to its Web site, the International Association of Fire Fighters Media Awards Contest is conducted annually to honor reporting and photography that best portray the professional and dangerous work of fire fighters and emergency personnel in the United States and Canada. Schaitberger wrote that I will be given a certificate by the fire union sometime in the near future.
Interestingly enough, Winchester's fire union got almost all of their demands from the implementation of ALS after going to arbitration, although you wouldn't know that from reading The Star which hasn't published the specifics of the matter, despite prodding from me. A small entry into the Town Meeting Spring Warrant noting more money given to the union was all that amounted from the coverage. According to sources I talked to later on, the arbiter criticized the behavior of both town officials and the fire chief for their actions in handing the matter.
So, hooray for me, for writing what was right, just, decent, and honest, which is all that can be expected from an editorialist. Woo hoo! :-)