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Letter to the editor

Mike Lederhause

It’s not the wrong county, it was just wrong for Merrill Hastings to write the letter that was published in the Vail Daily recently. I commend Kathy Heicher for refusing to publish the letter in the Eagle Valley Enterprise. His letter was an embarrassment to the community and certainly demeaning to the Horns, whose family has given so much of their time to help the citizens of both Eagle and Routt counties. Hastings” views of our fine neighbors in Routt County certainly do not represent the views of the McCoy community.Hastings forgot to mention that:The service area for the Bond-McCoy Volunteer Fire Department encompasses the Colorado River watershed extending from Radium west to Burns. This area lies in Eagle, Grand and Routt counties. The taxing district, if passed, will only include part of Eagle County, but I am sure the volunteers will continue to provide assistance as needed, without regard to the county line.The volunteers that make up the department live and serve in Eagle and Routt counties. (I wonder if he still supports the volunteer from Routt County that recently brandished a gun at a meeting in Eagle County.)Gary Horn has spent countless hours in training, attending meetings and responding to calls 24 hours a day in both Eagle and Routt counties since the department was organized and became active in the fall of 2001.Brita Horn attended a 96-hour first responder class at McCoy, in Eagle County, and then attended an EMT class in Eagle, again in Eagle County, that involved approximately 250 hours of classroom training, testing and practical experience at the Vail hospital, plus many hours of study and commuting to and from Eagle and Vail. The high cost of driving their vehicle to this training was paid by the Horns. During this time her entire family had to make compromises and do without her. Brita did this as a volunteer and used the knowledge gained for the benefit of the people of Colorado, not just Routt County.The Horn children certainly had to make sacrifices while their parents attended meetings, training and responded to calls for the benefit of the community.Brita Horn and other volunteers from our department also served as volunteers with the Greater Eagle Fire Protection District, again in Eagle County. There they gained valuable experience that they brought back to this community. Brita works part time for Eagle County Health Services District (In Eagle County) as an EMT-B, where she gains experience that is valuable to the members of our community.When dispatch called, the Horns were often the first, and sometimes the only ones, available to respond without regard to the time of day or NIGHT, or the county. They did not tell the parents of a baby that was having difficulty breathing and had a high fever in the middle of the night, during a blizzard, nor the lady that was having breathing difficulties and needed oxygen, that they lived in Eagle County so she could not respond. Brita also responded to Eagle County and gave all the care possible to a young girl lying in the road while life slowly drained away from her as a result of the injuries she had received. They also responded to the accidents that involved drunken drivers that had endangered the entire community. As a result of Hastings’ recent letter and constant interference, almost to the point of harassment, over the last several years, the department and the community just lost five dedicated volunteers, three of which lived in Eagle County. They were the Horns, Shelle Walker, Steve Smyres and Bob Ford. I had enough of him a year ago and resigned as a director after my term as president of the board was up.Hastings wrote, “So, Mr. Horn, please butt out and stop trying to mislead the Eagle County residents in our community by your continuous interference. …” Perhaps the name Horn should be changed to Hastings before he destroys the entire volunteer fire department. Merrill Hastings resigned as a director on Feb.4, 2000, and has had no position on the Board of Directors, nor has he been an active member of the department since that time, yet he continues to insinuate that he is involved by signing his letters as “Founding Chairman, Bond/McCoy Volunteer Fire Department.” He possibly graduated from grade school, but he does not sign as Graduate of ________ Grade School or anything else he may have been involved in. Is it possible that he is trying to mislead folks into thinking he is still involved with the department? He and Kerry Braatz were recent candidates for election to the Board of Directors for the department, but were not supported by the community and were not elected.As Gary Horn said after reading Hastings’ letter: “His heart knows no boundaries.”I certainly did not agree with the Horns on several issues, but that does not diminish my gratitude and respect for the service they have provided to the community. The Horns and the other volunteers that the community has lost because of Hastings were providing a valuable service to the community with limited resources. These folks served the community because there was a need. This was not a job, there were no paychecks and very few thanks, but it was something the community needed, so we did it. We served for the benefit of the citizens and visitors of Colorado, not our individual glory. Now those folks are gone. Hastings can be proud. It’s just wrong.Mike LederhauseFed upLet me start by saying this: I am not a bigot or a racist, I’m just fed up. Why? I have been run into twice in six months by uninsured motorists. Not only uninsured, but with no driver’s license, either. Both accidents were with members of our Hispanic community. Today in the Daily was the police report. No less than five people, all Hispanic, were cited for driving without insurance. This has to stop. If you want to be part of our community, and be treated fairly and equally, then you have to abide by the laws the rest of us do. Get a license, get registration, and get insurance. These are not optional activities. Did you know that if you have a Avon address, as opposed to a Vail address, you pay more for insurance. Wonder why!Rick SilvermanVailVail, Colorado


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