Letters to the editor

Sebring firefighters I read in the paper April 17 how our firefighters here in Sebring have once again stepped up and performed an outstanding job by extinguishing a fire in downtown Sebring. Somewhere in the small hours of the morning, when others were asleep, our city firefighters, notified by a sanitation worker, responded and saved at least one business and possibly many more by going above and beyond the call of duty in extinguishing a very difficult fire. This is the type of dedicated and experienced firefighters this city should be proud of. Whether it is responding to emergency medical calls, car accidents or pulling people out of burning buildings, firefighters are on the scene. So are our police officers. Just look at the horrific scenes at the Boston marathon. Even off-duty firefighters put aside their own well-being to help others. Heck, one firefighter from Tampa went to help others even when he did not know the whereabouts of his own wife. He found out later she was okay. And then I remember, wasn't it just last week that our city manager was trying to make life tough on those same firefighters by taking away their benefits and reducing their retirement? Bottom line is, if we can't take care of our firefighters and police and sanitation workers, not only will they not be here when we need them, but we sure don't need a city manager with nothing to manage.
Charlie Lowrance Sebring Religious teachings It is my experience that with age comes more reflection on spiritual growth. I often wonder why it took me 64 years to really want to investigate spiritual truth. Prior to that time, I was content to go to church and listen to someone else’s views on the matter. It is what it is. Christian parents raise Christian children; Muslim parents raise Muslim children; Jewish parents raise Jewish children, etc. Your belief system depends mostly on the country in which you were born and the culture in which you were raised. When we are children, there isn’t much we can do about it. But as we age and mature, there is. On my coffee table there is a book entitled “World Scripture,” a comparative anthology of sacred texts. It is very comforting to me to read it and see the many similarities in all the different religions around the world. In my studies, I have also learned that religion is progressive and relative to the age in which it was given to us. How does God, an unknowable essence, shed the light of His word to mankind? Through His teachers. He sent many teachers to bring spiritual light to the world and each has foretold of another who would follow in a future age with more of God’s light. Moses told of another prophet like him (Deuteronomy 18:15) and Jesus told of the coming of the Spirit of Truth (John 16:13.) Mohammad called attention to a future revelation of truth (Su’ra 77:50.) In our rapidly shrinking world, as we grow closer to all the peoples on earth, we need greater understanding of one another. What better way is there to learn about each other than by studying the beliefs and customs of those unlike ourselves? We may all discover that not only have we been misled by historians and political leaders, but also misinformed by our religious leaders. Mary Gustavson Avon Park Firefighter concessions Sebring firefighters saved nearby buildings in a recent fire and, as I write, several firefighters who responded to the Texas fertilizer plant fire are unaccounted for. Following tragedies, we can’t do enough for first responders and their pay and benefits go up as thank yous for what they did and appreciation that they are there when needed. While the pay won’t break a community, lucrative pensions for people who retire young will. I think everyone knows that, including the unions. As negotiations between the union and Sebring stand now, pensions for new and perhaps recently hired Sebring firefighters will be gone and the financial obligation diminished. The remaining issues are essentially union-busting initiatives that seem mean spirited. States that have attacked public unions usually exclude first responders for political reasons. Perhaps Sebring should follow their lead and be satisfied with the pension concessions. John Dyce Lorida