Letters to the Editor for 4/19/10

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Galax recognizes firefighters

This letter was addressed to the Galax Volunteer Fire Department and Chief David Hankley.

Galax City Council asked me to convey their thanks and gratitude for the valiant efforts out forth by the Galax Volunteer Fire Department at the fire on South Main Street on March 19.

It was through their work that damage from this fire was essentially limited to a single structure.

One of the greatest fears of any locality is a fire in a downtown area. Close proximity of buildings and age of construction can lend themselves to a dangerous situation when a fire occurs.

Old methods of construction used to prevent fire. Masonry fire walls and fire cuts on joists are effective for a short period of time, however they are limited in their scope of protection.

Only through efforts of the Galax department, with assistance by the Hillsville, Independence, Skull Camp and Fries fire departments, was a more devastating end result averted.

At times we take for granted the amount of training, hard work and dedication these brave volunteers undertake in order to protect our citizens and properties.

Many hard hours go into training for events such as this, working on equipment to make sure it is in the best shape possible, and fundraising to make sure the department is able to operate, not to mention the time spent responding to fire calls.

When you see the efforts these volunteers put forth to make sure this fire was no more devastating than it was, it makes you appreciate the hard work and dedication they each have.

This building could have easily been a total loss with significant damage to adjoining properties and the remainder of this block. The efforts the departments put forward was the deciding factor in making sure the affect was limited to this building.

I would also like to recognize the Galax Grayson EMS Service and the Pipers Gap and Baywood rescue squads for their quick response, in case we had an injured citizen on scene. These are again a group of people that go through significant training and preparation to respond to calls for assistance.

Additional efforts by Galax’s public works department, engineering department and our water treatment plant made sure roads were blocked and debris was cleaned up, buildings were assessed for additional damage and safety, and adequate water pressure and volume were available to the scene.

Again, thanks to you and the rest of these volunteers and employees for a job well done.

Keith E. Barker

Galax City Manager

Funeral home went above and beyond

I want to send out a special "thank you" to Twin County Funerals and the fine staff that served my family during the recent passing of my father, Eugene E. White.

The service we received was above and beyond my expectation. The staff took time to make sure what we wanted was done to our expectation.

The area should be honored to have a funeral home of such expertise serving them in their time of need.

Lee White


Honor volunteers and their service

During April 18–24, organizations around the nation will recognize volunteers and their service during National Volunteer Week.

During this past year, the Southwest Virginia Medical Reserve Corps has been pleased to have been the benefactor of volunteer support for a wide variety of activities.

From responding to natural disasters to assisting with public health outreach to assisting local health departments with seasonal and H1N1 flu vaccination clinics, Medical Reserve Corps volunteers have been actively involved in protecting the health of Virginians.

The Medical Reserve Corps is a growing movement among health care professionals and is an active partner in the emergency response and public health communities.

There are more than 10,000 volunteers serving in 31 different units. This past year, more than 2,000 Medical Reserve Corps members volunteered to support health department activities with an approximate value to the state of $750,000.

Volunteers put their commitment into action and the Virginia Department of Health and the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia are fortunate recipients of their service.

The Southwest Virginia corps thanks each volunteer for their time, talents, resources and commitment. Citizens of the Mount Rogers Health District are better and stronger because of each of them.

Kristina K. Morris

Volunteer Coordinator

SWVA Medical Reserve Corps

Healthcare reform dividing nation

The recently passed healthcare reform bill and the reaction from both sides for and against it was strong ugly, violent and name-calling.

The vice president was so overjoyed that it was a bleeping great deal. With all that is going on in this country concerning jobs, pocketbook issues, cuts in education, medicine and the ever shrinking Social Security Trust Fund, drugs, violence, the state and the federal government are sinking deeper into debt.

To some the worry should be of the elections in November. Others protest, speak out and vent their anger. But a few who could care less stand on the sideline with amusement.

The change that was promised has turned out in a way of political nature, with distrust and a nation divided with some dangerous repercussions.

In these very difficult times we live in a lot of soul searching and thinking from the heart that things could be done better.

Gutter talk, blame game, finger pointing and the so often-used term, “my way or the highway,” doesn’t jibe today. One hears people act strange and worry to the point of being afraid and trusting no one. This is sad.

For parents or guardians who try to raise their children the right way to be honest and respectful, to work hard and earn their way in life and make them moral, here comes a government official with a vile tongue for the world to hear.

A few might think it’s OK and smile about it as if it is nothing. Wrong. It’s like a copperhead, slithering up to a child and it’s all right to pet it.

So, goes the nation and neighborhood.

Mitchell Robinson


Census made costly mistake

Who are the brains behind the federal administration of Census 2010?

On the form, question numero uno specifically asks, "How many people were living ... in this house ... on April 1, 2010?"

Because of the government-funded blitz and joint efforts by the media, many people sent their forms in earlier than Census Day, including the president who was photographed filling his form out on March 29.

Current column headlines now read "Replacement census forms being mailed through April 10."

Are these brainiacs for real? They haven't yet tallied what was in the mail to them during the holiday week.

They are betting on some previous statistical number of lost forms.

They are increasing costs and wasting postage to re-send forms that they sent out too early.

Hark! I think I hear a knock at the door. Today was April 5.

Charles Vivier