No one can forget the images of South Mississippi firefighters rummaging through the rubble after Katrina. With weary souls and heavy hearts, they continued to do the unthinkable--retrieving bodies so loved ones would have some type of closure.
The President of the International Association of Fire Fighters made yet another trip to South Mississippi, vowing to help meet the continuing needs of firefighters in the coastal area.
"I'm here to see exactly what kind of condition they're in and to go back and on Capitol Hill, or through cooperation with governors throughout these various states, see if we can't cut through some of the bureaucracy, excuses and the finger pointing, and get these stations rebuilt and restored, and our members allowed to do a tough job in at least a reasonably decent environment," says Harold A. Schaitberger.
Schatiberger met with local firefighters to get their input on post-Katrina needs.
"In some of the municipalities along the coast, there's been concerns about fire stations, proper housing for the personnel who are on duty. The stress of a hurricane is bad, but the continued stress of personnel by being moved out of their stations, concerns that we may have been exposed to hazardous materials during the clean up and aftermath," says Lt. Marshall Robinson of the Gautier Fire Department.
And while Schaitberger and other union members continue to gather information, he says the union is already pushing for legislation in Congress that would provide millions of dollars for medical help for firefighters who may have been exposed to hazardous materials during Katrina, as well as funding for rebuilding of fire stations.
Schaitburger met with Baton Rouge firefighters earlier today. He's visiting with New Orleans firefighters tonight, and plans to meet with firefighter from St. Bernard Parish tomorrow.