According to WFTV, a firefighter in Orange County, Florida has received a 12 hour unpaid suspension for painting a Confederate Flag on his fire ax. The suspension is the result of the ax being used during a structure fire at the home of a black man. A fire department lieutenant saw the painted ax, reported it to a supervisor, and took it away before the distraught homeowner saw it. Jeff Holton, the son of the Assistant Fire Chief, claimed responsibility for painting the Confederate Flag on the ax and told those investigating the issue that to him it signified his small town roots and the values of family and hard work. Orange County Fire Chief Otto Drozd claimed the investigation showed a “culture of entitlement” at the fire station. More than half the staff at the station has since been transferred.
This is completely ridiculous! We have a situation in which the homeowner didn’t even see the object in question or claim to be offended by it and everyone freaks out and starts an investigation that ends up with a guy that was just trying to do his job with a little Southern pride being suspended without pay. I don’t care if it was for just 12 hours, it is the principle of the thing that matters. Hell, the homeowner may have supported the flag! He certainly wouldn’t have been the only black man to do so! So, what we get here is a witch hunt that ends up in half of the station getting transferred. Something is seriously wrong in the Orange County Fire Department. I highly encourage you to email, call, or tweet Chief Otto Drozd and let him know your opinion on this matter! We don’t need young men that are simply trying to do their job being hassled because they proudly displayed a symbol of their heritage. I have to wonder if the result would have been the same if the ax had been painted with the Pan-African Flag. Somehow, I highly doubt it!