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10/16 Letter to the Editor: King & Queen chief concerns about volunteer department funds.

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To the Editor:

I am Chief Mark Chandler of Lower King and Queen Fire-EMS, and I want to share some personal thoughts with you. I speak for myself alone, not on behalf of the organization into which I have put much time, effort, and support. I feel it is my obligation to let the citizens of King and Queen County and the surrounding counties know the truth of what our local government is NOT doing for our community.

Lower King and Queen Fire-EMS is a nonprofit organization that relies on the support of our community to keep it functioning. It strives to meet the emergency needs of each citizen's health and property. Since the department has been in existence, it has expanded with a substation in the Shacklefords area to quicken our response time and to reduce insurance rates for the benefit of each and every resident.

Approximately three years ago the King and Queen Board of Supervisors approached our department and asked us to start an Advanced Life Support response division. The Board stated that the County would help with the operations expenses. As a result of hours of training, grant writing, fundraising, and seeking donations, Lower King and Queen Fire- EMS now operates three ALS medic units.

Last year county taxes were raised to assist PAID EMT personnel who are not affiliated with either of our volunteer units. The Board proposed a 2% increase in real property taxes which were supposed to help support the new Emergency Services Department. To the dismay of our volunteer department, the Board of Supervisors voted on April 22, 2013, to reduce the funding it had promised to Lower King and Queen Fire-EMS which were needed to run the new Emergency Medical Services Division of our organization. We were given no notice that such a drastic action would be taken. Our volunteer organization, dedicated to saving the life and property of each resident of King and Queen, has lost 33 1/3% of its operations funding. We may have to obtain loans to meet our expenses.

In the upcoming week Lower King and Queen Fire-EMS will be doing its annual fundraising drive by sending letters. This letter has two goals: Please Donate to our Fire-EMS Volunteer Department AND be involved in county meetings to let the people who represent us know our needs and concerns.

Chief Mark V. Chandler

Lower King and Queen Fire-EMS