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RE: RUTHEFORD RETURNS AS FIRE MARSHAL

Good does triumph over evil. It seems to take a lot longer than it should, and with a great deal of work, but it does emerge victorious.

Such is the case of late with our County Fire Marshal, Jason Rutherford.

I met the Fire Marshal several months prior to being appointed as a Fire Chief here in the county. I sought his counsel regarding the department, the County Fire Service as a whole, and questioned his direction and plans for the future betterment of the people we serve.

My impression from the start was that he is extremely knowledgeable, approachable, down to earth, logical, and best of all... compassionate about the position and people he serves.

After I accepted my appointment, I sought him out again, relating to changes that needed to be done and how certain processes are done here in Texas, as my fire service has been all over this great nation. Once again, his professionalism and dedication rang true.

Then to the shock and disbelief of myself and a multitude of others, he resigned. What would make a servant of the people just get up and leave?

What was going on? As I tried to comprehend this enormous void in our county Fire Service, I sought out answers. Having been in the military for thirty-four years, it's my nature to get to the root of any problem. This proved more difficult than my past like endeavors. Everyone was very quiet which in hindsight was amazingly professional.

You see, there are a few people out here that want positions that others have, for themselves. They want what they perceive as power and prestige, and another rung on the ladder to get to the top of the Bandera County chain of command.

Another bullet comment on their resume would make them more presentable for the next position. This is both cruel and requires a great amount of deceit. These are purely selfish acts, designed to unseat anyone in their way and accomplish their high handed goals. This is done at the cost of good, dedicated people that truly serve the community we love.

It's easy for some to sling mud around with someone's name attached. If enough mud is thrown, then some is bound to stick. If it doesn't stick, they make more mud. It is a scarily easy process, and much easier than trying to get the mud off.

I too had mud thrown at me, but I was blessed by the faith others had in me and the community knowing who was making the mud. It's all better now. The community has embraced our small department once again and great strides have been accomplished to provide better response and service to our residents. Fire Marshal Jason Rutherford was instrumental in this success story. Evidently after I got the mud off, it was Jason's turn. But I have learned that the reason he left was not from any guilt or shame from the unfounded rumors and threats. He had done one of the most selfless acts I've heard of in years. He pulled away from the position voluntarily so the mud would not stick to the office for which he was serving. This my friends is the true meaning of professionalism and dedication. To leave your employment, the position you know is right for the people, and handle this horrible situation in private, is nothing short of exemplary and commendable.

Then the hiring process began for the Fire Marshal position. Most of us here in the County Fire Service were extremely sceptical about who would apply for the job. Would it be a person that doesn't have the extensive county knowledge needed? Would it be one of the people that made the mud in the first place?

Mr. Jason Rutherford applied and was interviewed as others were. He went through the fair and unbiased screening process like other candidates.

After his interview, I imagine he was on pins and needles, as I would be, wondering if he had been selected. The minutes must have seemed like days until he got the word that he had been selected to return to be our Fire Marshal.

The mud has been cleaned off. We have the correct person back doing his best to serve us all with professionalism and true dedication. I commend the hiring board for their diligence and ability to recognize what is best for Bandera County. So where are the few instigators now? I'm sure they have withdrawn to conjure up another scheme, make more mud, and get in a position to throw it at someone else. Or has that already happened? You be the judge!

What can we do as a community to thwart such vicious attacks on good people? Firstly, don't believe the rumors. They are left as seeds of evil and negativity for others to pick up and spread. Secondly, seek the facts and attempt to look from the outside in to gather the proper prospective.

It's a relief to have our Fire Marshal back. His expert knowledge and selfless service has been missed and is required!

I wish I could extend an apology to him and his family, on behalf of the entire Bandera County for all the has gone through during this time of unwarranted hardship, but I don't have that authority.

Let us all be aware, and on guard, for the next person that stands in the way of, or attempts to stomp on good people. Let us rally around them and shelter them from the mud. Let us believe in them and do what we can to pick them up and wash the mud off.

This is what a good community does for others. This is what Bandera can show the world we are made of...good people looking out for good people.

Chief Eric Fraser Lakeshore VFD Bandera Texas