Recently, the Spartansburg, Pennsylvania community made national headlines by re-electing their fire chief, who happened to be a registered sex offender. Sadly, the newly re-elected chief resigned over the publicity, but many have stood behind him even in the wake of the negative publicity.
A local news station, WJAC, featured another Pennsylvania community that had a similar situation, but chose to handle it in a more humane, compassionate way, that will undoubtedly benefit their entire community.
Chief Paul Demi of the Spangler Fire Company said of one of their volunteer firefighters who had a sex offense in his past, “I can’t imagine, if we as a company, didn’t give him the second chance.” He continued, “anyone who puts application in, we usually give them opportunity, unless there’s something in present going on. We really haven’t had any issues doing it that way,”
The borough’s Mayor, Scott Litzinger, supported Chief Demi’s decision to take on a volunteer on the registry. “As long as [they are] in accordance with the law and abide by the law… volunteering their time to help people, I don’t have a problem with it,” he said to local news affiliate WJAC of the registrant, who Chief Demi described as, “one of the best members we have.” Even their State Representative, Bryan Barbin, supports the decision, saying “I’m still Christian enough to believe that some of those people, not all, but some of those people ought to get a second chance,”
Many registrants seek out volunteer positions as a way to seek redemption for past misdeeds. As a way of giving back to their communities. That not only helps the community through the volunteer services the individual provides, but helps the former offender re-integrate into the community, improve their sense of self-worth, develop a support system, find a meaningful purpose to their existence and use of their time.
“As a volunteer organization, we’re here to help. Not just (help) to our community … but the people. If that means giving people a chance to be members, to help them to become a productive member, then that’s what we’ll do,” said Demi.
Kudos to Chief Paul Demi, Mayor Scott Litzinger and Representative Bryan Barbin! If anyone wants to drop them a thank you note,the information is below. Hopefully it’ll help make up for some of the backlash they will get for standing up for a registrant!
Attn: Mayor Scott Litzinger: [email protected]