In a letter to Montgomery County Commissioners dated Aug. 14, the Uwharrie Fire Department Board of Directors wrote, “Since the first amendment guarantees us the right to fly our flag without government restriction, we respectfully decline your request.” Commissioners had asked the department to remove the Confederate Flag from the department after receiving several complaints about the flag. The Uwharrie Fire Department building is privately owned but the department receives county funding.
The letter goes on to say, “The Uwharrie Volunteer Fire Department’s purpose is to provide fire protectioon to all persons in need, regardless of race. We feel as though we have met that purpose and that our flags have not impeded our abilities to provide emergency services.”
The letter goes on to note the support they have received from the community saying, “Being the rural volunteer fire department that we are, you can understand that we rely heavily on community support through our fundraisers and volunteers. Funds raised from our community make up most of our operating budget. Our community has been very outspoken of their support of our flags. We feel that we would not continue to receive the financial support needed to meet our expenses if we remove our flags. In our opinion, the protection of life and property outweighs the few people that choose to be offended and have a perverted view of a symbol that is part of our community’s history and hertitage.”
The department, like all of the 10 fire departments, receives approximately $20,000 annually, which is part of the two-cent tax allocation approved by voters several years ago. In addition each department receives $400,000 toward a new truck every 10 years.
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