Thank you! Winchester Fire and Rescue Department personnel and citizens of Winchester!

Thank you, men, women, career and volunteer, operational and administrative staff of the Winchester Fire and Rescue Department for your commitment to serve!

Your passion to answering the call, for those in the most vulnerable of positions that any of us could find ourselves — of needing help, does not go unappreciated.

The department is understaffed, not meeting any national standards or best practices for staffing, causing high levels of risk to you and the community. You’re oppressed and unappreciated by your employer. But yet absenteeism is historically low and response times are the best in the region. How is that possible?

As I’ve often shared, in our arena of emergency services, there are no ‘do-overs’. We don’t get second chances. We have one opportunity to get it right. If we don’t, people will suffer and die. You all do your best with every call for help, and this community is better for it. If this critical service to the community continues to be in crisis, as reported by ESCI, it won’t be because of YOU. Please don’t lose hope that real leadership will prevail and that your conditions of employment will improve. You guys are respected and well-regarded in this region.

If I’ve only done one thing for you in the past 365 days, it’s creating this environment for change to occur. God bless you guys!

Thank you, citizens of Winchester, for accepting me and my family as part of your community. Your kindness and neighborly friendship are the heart of this community.

William Garrett is the former chief of the Winchester Fire and Rescue Department.

(2) comments

shinyhappypeople

Thank you for standing up to be heard, Mr. Garrett! It will be awfully hard for them to get the genie back into the bottle, so to speak, and the citizens of Winchester owe you an enormous thanks for falling on the sword to protect the lives of our first responders and us. Hope you and your family are living well somewhere- it’s the best revenge. Peace be with you...

delaurel66

Agree 100%.

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