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| Guest Columnist | Harry M. Covert | Jason Miller | Ken Kellar | Patricia A. Kelly | Cindy A. Rose |


As Long as We Remember...

September 5, 2013

Doing Good Gets the Boot

Harry M. Covert

When fires explode and vehicle accidents interrupt traffic to the discomfort of travelers as well as victims, 911 calls aren't answered by city or county code enforcement offices.


Such squeamish and often dire emergencies are handled instantly by well-trained and committed volunteers and professionals of the Frederick County Fire and Rescue Services.


These public servants and they are that – respond without hesitation to such events on public and private properties.


Laws, codes and regulations are important. Sometimes it's necessary to ignore some of the enacted rules.


Compassion for the less fortunate in all areas is a good thing. Sometimes, maybe, people go overboard; but that's better than not helping at all.


The point here though recently involved the county firefighters' “Fill the Boot” effort.


A little understood county code stopped firefighters in their tracks. At eight locations – intersections – the boots were put away by the county. Seems like the local code only allows such fund-raising on private property.


The firefigthers – both men and women – were participating in the International Firefighters Association campaign in the annual national Muscular Dystrophy Association, formerly known as the Jerry Lewis non-stop telethon.


The locals had received some $30,500 in the boots, more than double their goal. Sure showed that Fredericktonians believe in the firefighters and the charity.


It could have been more donations had the county not stopped the effort, apparently unwilling to automatically push aside the code.


The boot project is not liability. The rule surely was enacted to keep mendicants, unlicensed windshield wipers and other annoying people from pestering motorists.


Sometimes it's right and proper to bypass codes for the good of all.


Thankfully, the firefighters found a friend, Melissa Parsley. She welcomed them to the private property of Frederick Shell Car Wash. All fees at the carwash during the time of the boot campaign were "booted."


Now here's a nomination for business leader of the year.


Further, here's an old-fashioned boo for county commissioners and code enforcement.


An old adage says rules are made to be broken. Where communities are known for goodnesses and kindnesses, and no one complains about being inconvenienced at stop lights, why stop a good thing?


It won't happen, of course; but the next time there's a fire emergency, a heart attack case or car smash, let's hope First Responders will not consider whether the incident is on public or private property.


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